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PREFACE by the Editor ........ ix 

Epistle Dedicatory to Lord Burghley 3 

Preface to the Controversies . . . . . . .14 

Question the First of the First Controversy : Of the number of the 

Canonical Books of Scripture , . . . . .25 

Question the Second : Of the Authentic Edition and Versions of the 

Scriptures ......... 110 

Question the Third: Of the Authority of Scripture . . .275 
Question the Fourth : Of the Perspicuity of Scripture . . 359 
Question the Fifth : Of the Interpretation of Scripture . . 402 
Question the Sixth : Of the Perfection of Scripture, against Unwrit 
ten Traditions 496 

To the Reader 705 

Index 709 


IT seemed desirable that this, the great work of one of 
the greatest of our early divines upon the cardinal point of 
difference between the churches of the Roman and the reformed 
communions, should be comprised in the collection of the Parker 
Society ; not only on account of its intrinsic merits, but also for 
its historical value ; as exhibiting the posture of defence assumed 
by our schools against that change of tactics in the management 
of this great controversy, which is to be dated from the insti 
tution of the Society of Jesus. 

William Whitaker (or Whitacre) was born at Holme, in Lan 
cashire, A.D. 1547, of a good family, nearly related, to Alexander 
Nowel, the celebrated dean of St Paul s. He was bred at Cam 
bridge, where he soon distinguished himself, and was in 1579 
appointed the Queen s Professor of Divinity. In 1586, through 
the influence of Burghley and Whitgift, and in spite of obstinate 
and powerful opposition, he was made Master of St John s Col 
lege in that University ; soon after which appointment he took 
his degree of Doctor in Divinity. His delay in assuming the 
doctorate seems curious, and it was maliciously made the ground 
of a most unjust imputation of puritanism. How small was his 
sympathy with the disciplinarian party, appears from the manner 
in which he speaks of their great leader, Cartwright, in a letter 
preserved by Bancroft 1 : " Quern Cartwrightus nuper emisit libel- 
lum, ejus magnam partem perlegi. Ne vivam, si quid unquam 
viderim dissolutius ac pene puerilius. Verborum satis ille quidem 
lautam ac novam supellectilem habet, rerum omnino nullam, 
quantum ego quidem judicare possum. Deinde rion modo per 
verse de Principis in Rebus Sacris atque Ecclesiasticis auctoritate 
sentit ; sed in papistarum etiam castra transfugit ; a quibus ta- 
men videri vult odio capital! dissidere. Yerum nee in hac causa 

1 Survey of Discipline, p. 379, Lond. 1593. 


ferendus, sed aliis etiam in partibus tela a papistis mutuatur. 
Denique, ut de Ambrosio dixit Hieronymus, verbis ludit, sententiis 
dormitat, et plane indignus est qui a quopiam docto refutetur." 

But though far removed from the disciplinarian tenets of 
the puritans, Whitaker undoubtedly agreed with them in their 
hostility to the Arminian opinions, which in his time began to 
prevail in the Church of England; as appears from the share 
taken by him in the prosecution of Baret, and the devising of 
the Lambeth articles. The history of such proceedings is foreign 
from my present purpose; but the reader will find a full detail 
of the circumstances connected with them in Strype s Life of 
Whitgift, Book iv., Chapters 14 18. Shortly after the termi 
nation of that memorable dispute, Whitaker died in 1595, in 
the forty-seventh year of his age. He was married, and had 
eight children. It was pleasantly said of him, that he gave the 
world a child and a book 1 every year. Of his children I have 
nothing to communicate, and his books will speak for themselves. 
They gained for him in his life-time a high character, not only 
with friends, but with enemies also. " I have," says the writer 
of his life, in Lupton s Protestant Divines 2 , " I have heard it 
confessed of English Papists themselves, which have been in Italy 
with Bellarmine himself, that he procured the true portraiture 
and effigies of this Whitaker to be brought to him, which he 
kept in his study. For he privately admired this man for his 
singular learning and ingenuity ; and being asked of some of his 
friends, Jesuits, why he would have the picture of that heretic 
in his presence ? he would answer, Quod quamvis hcereticus 
erat et adversarius, erat tamen doctus adversarius : that, " al 
though he was an heretic, and his adversary, yet he was a learned 
adversary," p. 359. " He was," says Gataker, " tall of stature and 
upright ; of a grave aspect, with black hair and a ruddy com 
plexion ; a solid judgment, a liberal mind, an affable disposition ; a 

1 Librum et Liberum quotannis. See Fuller s Life of Whitaker in the 
"Holy State." 

2 History of the moderne Protestant Divines, &c., faithfully translated 
out of the Latin by D. L., London, 1637. 


mild, yet no remiss governor ; a contemner of money ; of a mode 
rate diet, a life generally unblameable, and (that which added a 
lustre to all the rest) amidst all these endowments, and the respects 
of others (even ihe greatest) thereby deservedly procured, of a most 
meek and lowly spirit." "Who," asks Bishop Hall, "ever saw 
him without reverence ? or heard him without wonder ? " 

I have only to add, that in the translation I have endeavoured 
to be as literal as would consist with a due regard to the English 
idiom. Had I considered myself at liberty to use more freedom, 
I should have made my task more easy to myself, and the work 
perhaps less tedious to the reader : for there is a prolixity in 
Whitaker s style, which contrasts unfavourably with the com 
pactness of his great antagonist, Bellarmine; though he trespasses 
far less upon the student s patience than Stapleton, whose verbose 
rhetoric made him admired in his own day, and whose subtlety of 
logic cannot save him from neglect in ours. 

It is proper to apprise the reader, that, besides the Controversy 
translated in the present volume, the only one published in the 
Author s life-time, three others are contained in the ponderous 
volumes of his works, all of which were published after his death 
by John Allenson, B.D., Fellow of St John s College. The subjects 
of these are De Ecclesia, De Conciliis, and De Romano Pontifice. 
He encountered Bellarmine also on the other controversies in suc 
cession, De ministris et presbyteris Ecclesice, De sanctis mortuis, 
De Ecclesia triumphante, De Sacramentis in genere, De Baptismo, 
and De Eucliaristia. " Quas," adds his biographer, Obadiah 
Assheton, a Fellow of his College, " utinam licuisset per otium 
relegisse, et mandasse typis universas : id enim auditoribus erat in 
votis vel maxime ; quorum cum summa admiratione et acclamatione 
singulas tractarat controversias. Ceterum studio respondendi Bel- 
larmino in omnibus controversiis religionis provectus, optimum 
censuit has elucubratas disputationes apud se reponere ; ratus (quod 
postea non evenit) aptius fore tempus eas per otium evulgandi. 
Sed Deo immortali, cnjus consilia sunt abyssus inscrutabilis, aliter 
visum est." 


The following is the list of his works : 

1. Responsio ad decera rationes Edm. Campiani. 8vo. Lond. 

2. Responsionis ad decem rationes Edm. Campiani Defensio. 
8vo. Lond. 1583. 

3. Refutatio Nic. Sanderi, quod Papa non sit Antichristus. 
8vo. Lond. 1583. 

4. Answer to W. Rainold s Reprehensions, &c. 8vo. Camb. 

5. Disputatio de Sacra Scriptura contra hujus temporis Pa- 
pistas. 4to. Cantab. 1588. 

6. Pro authoritate atque auroTrta-ria S. Scripture Duplicatio 
contra T. Stapletonum. Libri 3. Cantab. 1594. 

7. Pra3lectiones de Ecclesia, &c., edited after his death by 
J. Allenson. 4to. Cantab. 1599. 

8. Pr^lectiones de Conciliis. 8vo. Cantab. 1600. 

9. Concio in 1 Thess. v. 12. 4to. Cantab. 1599. 

10. In Controversial! de R. Pontifice, distributam in qua?s- 
tiones viii., adversus Pontificios, imprimis R. Bellarminum, praelec- 
tiones. 8vo. Hanov. 1608. 

11. De Sacramentis. Francof. 1624. 4to. 

A complete collection of his works in Latin was printed in two 
vols. folio, at Geneva, 1610. 

Besides the above, Whitaker published in 1569 a Greek trans 
lation of the Common Prayer; in 1573, of Nowel s larger, and in 
1575, of the smaller Catechism. 





[Title-page of the original work, 1610.] 






Pontificium in Collegio Romano, & THOMAM 

STAPLETONVM, Regium in Schola Dua- 

cena Controuersiarum 

Professorem : 

Qucestionilus proposita fy tractata a GVILIELMO WHITAKERO Theologioe 

Doctore ac Profeffbre Regio, fy Collegij D. loannis in Canta- 

Irigiensi Academia Magistro. 

BASILIVS in Epistola ad Eustathium medicum. 

11 Oeoirvevo-Tos tj^v StaiTrja-ctTW ypatyri K a\ Trap of? av evpeOfj TCI Soy^a-rct 
o-ui/wBa roTs BetoK Xo yoi?, eir\ roi/Vots ijgei TroWws Try? aA^0C(O9 ij 





THERE have been many heretofore, illustrious Cecil, who 
have defended the papal interest and sovereignty with the utmost 
exertion, the keenest zeal, and no mean or vulgar erudition. But 
they who have played their part with most address, and far out 
stripped almost all others of their own side, are those men who 
now, for some years back, have been engaged most earnestly in 
this cause ; a fresh supply of monks, subtle theologians, vehement 
and formidable controvertists ; whom that strange and, in former 
times, unheard of Society of Jesus hath brought forth, for the 
calamity of the church and the Christian religion. For when, 
after that black, deadly, baneful, and tedious night of popish 
superstition and antichristianism, the clear and cheerful lustre 
of the gospel had illuminated with its rays some portions of 
the Christian world, attracting, and by its incredible charms at the 
same time moving all, to gaze on, admire, and cleave to it; on 
a sudden, these men sprang up to obscure with pestilential vapours, 
and ravish, if possible, from our view, this light, so hateful to 
themselves, so hostile and prejudicial to their interests. So indeed 
had John, that holy disciple of Christ, predicted in the Apocalypse, 
that a star, which had fallen from heaven, and received the key 
of the infernal pit, should remove the covering of the abyss, 
and cause a mighty smoke to issue forth, like the smoke of a 
great furnace, shedding darkness over the sun and heaven. This 



pit, from the time that it was first opened, hath not ceased to 
exhale perpetual smoke to blind the eyes of men ; and, as the 
same prophet had foretold, hath sent forth innumerable locusts 
upon the earth, like scorpions, who have wounded with their 
deadly stings all men upon whose foreheads the seal of God was 
not impressed. The event itself, the best interpreter of prophe 
cies, has illustrated the obscurity of the prediction. For who can 
doubt the meaning of the star, the pit, the smoke, the locusts ; 
who considers the state of the papal power, in which they are 
all so pourtrayed to the very life, as to be most readily dis 
cerned by any one, who can compare together the past and pre 
sent, and interprets what was foretold, as about to happen, by 
that which is seen to have occurred ? 

Amongst these locusts, that is, as very learned men justly 
deem, amongst the innumerable troops of monks none, as we 
before said, have ever appeared, more keen, or better prepared 
and equipped for doing mischief, than are the Jesuits at this 
present day ; who in a short space have surpassed all other 
societies of that kind in numbers, in credit, and in audacity. 
Other monks, following the rule and practice of former times, 
lived in general a life of leisure and inactivity, and spent their 
time, not in reading and the study of the sciences, but in repeating 
by the glass certain offices for the canonical hours, which con 
tributed nothing to the advancement of either learning or religion. 
But the Jesuits have pursued a far different course. They have 
left the shade of ancient sloth and inactivity, in which the other 
monks had grown grey, and have come forth to engage in toils, 
to treat of arts and sciences, to undertake and carry through an 
earnest struggle for the safety of the common interests. It hath 
come to be understood, that the cause of Eome, which, shaken by 
the perilous blows dealt on every side by men of ability and 
learning, had begun in many parts to totter and give way, 
could never be defended or maintained, except by learned and 
diligent and active champions. 

For just as a dilapidated mansion, unless propped up almost 


every day by fresh and firm buttresses, will suddenly fall in a 
violent and total ruin ; so they perceived that the Roman syna 
gogue, tottering as it is and threatening to fall, in its wretched 
state of decay and dilapidation, hath need continually of new 
supports and bracings, to maintain any remnant of its state and 
dignity under the pressure of such vehement assaults. Yet, with 
all their efforts, shall they never be able to avert the imminent 
calamity, or rescue themselves from perdition. But as buildings, 
whose foundations are subverted, their walls pierced, their roofs 
uncovered, having no part secure, can never be supported long 
by any multitude of artificial props ; so that church of theirs, 
all rent and torn on every side, in which nor roof, nor pillar, 
nor foundation remains sound, intrinsically devoid of firmness and 
integrity, must at length fall headlong, and crush many to de 
struction in its ruins. We are not to believe that the Roman 
church is flourishing, because the Jesuits are often able to impose 
upon inconstant and unskilful persons, and lead them into the 
popish fraud by the lures and blandishment of their fallacious 
reasoning, any more than we should think that health and life 
is restored to the frame that labours in a mortal malady, when 
it gains, for a moment, some casual alleviation of its pain. Let 
the Jesuits do their best ; let them exert, if possible, still more 
intense sedulity, and omit nothing that learning and diligence can 
accomplish without the aid of truth. Yet all they can accomplish 
will be this, to prop a falling house with mounds and buttresses, 
to afford some brief refreshment to antichrist, now gasping in his 
last long agony, and, despite of all the rules of physic, apply 
remedies to a desperate disease. 

Amongst these Jesuits, Robert Bellarmine, a native of Italy, 
hath now for several years obtained a great and celebrated name. 
At first he taught scholastic divinity in Belgium ; but afterwards, 
having removed to Rome, he treated of theological controversies 
in such a manner as to excite the admiration and gain the applause 
of all. His lectures were eagerly listened to by his auditors, 
transcribed, transmitted into every quarter, and treasured up as 


jewels and amulets. After some time, for the sake of rendering 
them more generally useful, they were epitomized by a certain 
Englishman. Finally, the first volume of these controversies 
hath been published at Ingolstadt, printed by Sartorius; and the 
rest are expected in due time 1 . Now, therefore, Bellarmine is 
cried up by his party as an invincible champion, as one with 
whom none of our men would dare to engage, whom nobody can 
answer, and whom if any one should hope to conquer, they would 
regard him as an utter madman. 

When you, honoured sir, demanded my opinion of this writer, 
I answered, as indeed I thought, that I deemed him to be a man 
unquestionably learned, possessed of a happy genius, a penetrating 
judgment, and multifarious reading ; one, moreover, who was 
wont to deal more plainly and honestly than is the custom of 
other papists, to press his arguments more home, and to stick more 
closely to the question. Thus, indeed, it became a man who had 
been trained in the schools, and who had made the handling of 
controversies his professed business, to dismiss all circumlocutions 
and digressions, and concern himself entirely with the argument ; 
and, having read all that had been previously written upon the 
subject, to select those reasons and replies which seemed to have 
most strength and sinew in them. In the prosecution of which 
task, he was led to weigh everything with a profound and anxious 
solicitude, and has sometimes differed from all his predecessors, and 
struck out new explanations of his own ; perceiving, I suppose, 
that the old ones were not sound enough to be relied on. We 
have an instance (Lib. n. de Verbo Dei, c. 16) in his treatment 
of 1 Cor. 14, where the apostle forbids the use of a strange 
language in the church. The former popish writers had usually 
understood that place to speak of exhortations or sermons to the 

[! The first complete edition of Bellarmine s Controversies was printed, 
according to Bayle, at Ingolstadt, in three Tomes, 1586. The oldest edition 
which I have seen is that of 1588, printed also at Ingolstadt by Sartorius, 
in three Tomes. Alegambus states that the first Tome was printed so 
early as 1581.] 


people ; or, if they conceded that it might be understood of divine 
service, interpreted it so as to require that the words of the minis 
ter should be understood, not by the whole congregation, but only 
by him who made the responses in their name. But Bellarmino, 
having reflected upon the falsehood and weakness of these evasions, 
hath invented another for himself; and pretends that the apostle 
is speaking not of the offices of divine service, nor yet of the 
public reading of the scriptures, but only of certain spiritual 
songs and canticles. What, however, or what sort of things 
these were, or why they required to be recited in a known 
language more than the common prayers or the scripture lessons, 
it is not so easy to understand. But of this place of the apostle, 
and this new pretence of Bellarmine s, we have discoursed suf 
ficiently at large in the second question, chap. 18, of this con 

So again, (Lib. in. cap. 2) where he is answering an objection 
drawn from St Peter s calling the prophetic word a lamp, he does 
not answer, as Hosius did (Lib. in. contra Proleg. Brentii), that 
in the prophecies there are many things plain, and that what is 
enigmatically spoken in the prophets is expressed clearly in the 
gospel ; but he says that prophecy is called a lamp, not because it 
is easily understood, but because it illuminates when it is under 
stood. He saw clearly that Hosius exposition left our doctrine of 
the perspicuity of scripture in sufficient strength, and therefore 
excogitated this new one ; upon which we have treated, Quest, iv. 
chap. 4. 

In the same way, when we maintain that the mysteries of 
the faith should be concealed from no one, and allege, in proof, 
those words of Christ, " What ye hear in the ear, that proclaim 
ye upon the house-tops ;" Bellarmine, (Lib, iv. c. 12) has recourse 
to a strange and hitherto, I think, unheard of interpretation ; 
that is, says he, if need so require. He gives the allegation no 
other reply whatever ; and how proper and apposite an answer 
this is, I am content that others should determine. 

Again, when we urge that the scripture is called canonical, and 


therefore is, what that very appellation indicates, the rule of faith 
and of living ; Bellarmine answers confidently in the same chapter, 
that the scripture was not published to be the rule of our faith, 
but to serve " as a sort of commonitory, useful to preserve and 
cherish the faith received by preaching." So that, according to 
this new interpretation of Bellarmine s, we learn that the scriptures 
are no rule of faith at all, but a certain commonitory, an honour 
which they share with many others ; nor yet even a necessary 
one, but only useful to the end of preserving the traditions. 
This is a noble judgment of the value of scripture, and alto 
gether worthy of a Jesuit ! a judgment which leaves the bible 
only the office of admonishing us, as if we only required to be 
admonished, and not taught. 

Bellarmine hath innumerable such new discoveries ; with which 
he defends the papal cause in a different manner, indeed, from 
that of its former patrons, but yet is so far from really serving 
it, that he hath rather done it the greater damage and injury 
with discreet and attentive readers, who have any care for their 
faith and religion. For hence it appears that, while Bellarmine 
cannot approve the answers of others, it is impossible to invent 
new ones, which are not worse than the old. 

I remember, too, that in the course of that same conversa 
tion between us, I allowed Bellarmine the merit of dealing less 
dishonestly with the testimonies of the fathers than is customary 
with others, and of not captiously or maliciously perverting the 
state of the question; a fault which, I found, had particularly 
disgusted you in certain writers ; whereas religious disputes and 
controversies should be managed in such a way as to eschew all 
craft, and seek truth, and truth alone, with a holy earnestness. 
I acknowledged that, while our adversaries erred grossly in this 
respect, our own party stood not so wholly clear of the same 
fault, as became the investigators of truths so sacred ; which, in 
proportion as they are more heavenly in their nature, and concern 
us more nearly, should be searched into and handled with so 
much the more sincerity. 



But, since many more eager for contention than for truth 
propose to themselves scarcely any other object than to be able to 
say something against their opponents, and to be esteemed the 
champions of a cause, which they love much better than they un 
derstand ; so it comes to pass, that the just state of the question is 
laid aside with a cold neglect, and truth, as usual, is lost in alter 
cation. Thus Bellarmine himself, where he undertakes to impugn 
our doctrine of the perspicuity of scripture (Lib. in. c. 1), lays 
this down as the state of the question, " Whether scripture be so 
plain in itself as to be sufficient, without any explication, to deter 
mine controversies of faith;" and he imposes upon us the office of 
maintaining that the scriptures are in themselves most plain and 
easy, and stand in need of no interpretation: as if we either 
thought that every part of scripture was plain, easy, and clear, 
or ever rejected the exposition and interpretation of the scriptures ! 
Could Bellarmine really hope to impose upon us in so gross a 
manner, as to make us confess that to be our opinion which had 
never so much as entered into our thoughts? But to this we 
have given a sufficiently plain answer in our fourth question. 

I could wish that this were the only place in which Bellarmine 
had shewn bad faith, and that he had not elsewhere also played 
the Jesuit in matters of no small importance. For there can be 
no end of writing and disputing, no decision of controversies, no 
concord amongst Christians, until, laying aside all party feelings, 
and assuming the most impartial desire and design of investigating 
truth, we apply ourselves entirely to that point where the stress of 
the controversy lies. 

And now (since I am addressing one who is accustomed both 
to think of these matters often and seriously himself, and to. listen 
to others delivering their own opinions upon them also), allow me 
briefly to explain, and commend to your consideration, a thing 
which I have long wished for, and which I trust might be ac 
complished with singular advantage and with no great difficulty. 
Our adversaries have very often demanded a disputation, and 
declared that they especially wish and long for permission to hold 


a scholastical contest with us upon the subject of those questions 
which form the matter of our present controversies. Whether this 
demand be made hypocritically, as many suppose, or sincerely, I, 
for my part, would desire that they may have their asking. For, 
although they cannot deny that they have often been disputed 
with in Germany, France, and England, nay, that those learned 
men Melancthon and Brentius repaired to Trent for the sole purpose 
of defending the confessions of their churches against the Popish 
theologians ; yet I would have them made to understand, that they 
have no reason for believing that their cause hath become one 
whit the better, since it hath been espoused by its Jesuit patrons, 
than it was heretofore, when defended by the ancient orders. Let 
the Jesuits be allowed acute, ready, practised, eloquent, and full of 
resources ; let them be, in a word, whatever they are, or are be 
lieved to be : yet truth is ever one and the same ; and still, the 
more it is attacked, shines out with greater brilliancy and lustre. 
Perhaps, indeed, it will be said that none can be found who would 
dare to stand a conflict with the Jesuits, or are fit to be matched 
with such opponents. I know well, for my part, how confident and 
boastful these men are, and what a look and mien they assume 
in disputation; as if they had only learned how most arrogantly 
to despise their adversaries, not how to give a better answer to 
their arguments. Yet, since the sacred laws of such conferences 
secure to each man just so much advantage, and no more, as he 
can win by reason and argument, and whatever is said must be 
reduced to the rules of Syllogism ; there remains no ground to fear 
that painted falsehood will prevail more than simple and naked 
truth. Not to speak of foreign nations and churches, where every 
one knows that there is abundance of learned men, this island itself 
possesses persons well skilled in every kind of learning, who could 
readily, not only explain the truth, but defend it also against any 
adversaries. In both our Universities there are men so practised 
and skilled in every portion of these controversies, that they would 
rather forfeit their recognisance, than shrink from a dispute so 
honourable, just, and necessary. 


Nor do I see that any so great inconvenience is to be appre 
hended from this course, as some suspect. For, although those who 
are bound to this cause by a blind superstition, will probably be so 
far from reaping any advantage, that they will rather be rendered 
still more obstinate, and some fickle people will, perhaps, be even 
alienated from our side ; as, in every disputation, opinions incline 
different ways, according as the several auditors are capable of 
judging or inclined to attend and reflect ; yet, we may reasonably 
augur the following important results : First, it would easily appear, 
what is the true state of the question in each controversy ; which 
should be pressed, driven home, and discussed, without regard to 
impertinent and trifling altercations. In the next place, it cannot 
be doubted, that all who measured religion, not by the decrees of 
men or their own caprice, but by the standard of the holy scrip 
tures, and were ready to acknowledge and embrace the truth when 
it was found, would easily reject the rotten devices of the papists, 
and prefer that sound and wholesome doctrine of the faith, which 
our churches have drawn from the pure springs of scripture, to 
their old and idle superstition. Lastly, the wishes of our adversaries 
would be satisfied ; nor could they any longer, with any shew of 
probability, reproach us openly with cowardice. Yea, the truth 
itself, which we profess, would rise above the suspicion which it has 
incurred in the minds of some, and establish itself in the light 
and conscience of all the world. There is nothing which truth 
fears so much as to be prevented from appearing in public, and be 
ing exposed lo the examination of all men. It would rather have 
any patron that is not absolutely dumb, than go without defence 
from the unrighteous calumnies of unjust accusers. One thing only 
I would have carefully provided. Prudent and grave moderators 
should preside in this disputation ; who should restrain petulance, 
repress clamours, permit no breach of decorum, and maintain order, 
modesty and discipline. I have now laid before you my thoughts 
and wishes. The determination rests with those who are at the 
helm of church and state ; with yourself especially, in regard of 
that singular wisdom which hath ever distinguished you in every 
judgment and deliberation. I now return to Bellarmine. 


I am rejoiced that these controversies of his, so much celebrated 
in common report, have now been published by himself; so as that 
we all may easily judge of their quality, their value, their strength, 
and their importance, nor believe Bellarmine to be any other than 
we find him by their evidence. And, although our adversaries 
opinions might be collected from the many other writers who have 
appeared in great numbers on the same side ; yet, since there are 
many points upon which they do not all agree, it hath been a matter 
of some obscurity hitherto, to ascertain the real judgment of the 
Roman church. But now that Bellarmine hath been published, we 
shall know better and more certainly what it is they hold upon 
every subject, the arguments on which they specially rely, and 
what is (so to speak) the very marrow of popery, which is thought 
to be as much in the Jesuits as in the pope himself. Knowing, 
therefore, how much our party desire that these Jesuits should be 
answered, and having fallen in with a manuscript copy of Bcl- 
larmine s Lectures, I thought it worth my while to handle these 
same controversies in the schools in the discharge of the duties of my 
office, to discuss the new sophisms of the Jesuits, and vindicate our 
unadulterated truth from the captious cavils with which the popish 
professor had entangled it. Afterwards, being often requested by 
many persons to publish some of my disputations against our ad 
versaries, and let the whole church share in the benefit of my toil 
and studies, I determined to commit to the press this controversy 
concerning SCRIPTURE, which is the first of them ; and which, 
forming, as it does, a sort of vestibule to the rest, and sufficing of 
itself to fill a reasonable volume, seemed, as it were, to demand 
that I should not wait until I had completed the remainder, but 
publish it by itself, and separate from all the others. 

In all this I did nothing without the approbation of the most 
reverend father, the archbishop of Canterbury, a man of the 
greatest wisdom and the greatest learning, who, having read and 
thoroughly considered this whole controversy, declared it worthy 
of publication. Now that it is published, I dedicate it to you, most 
noble Cecil, whom I have ever esteemed the great patron and 
Maecenas of my studies; you, in whom this college prides herself 


as a member of her body, and will always, as long as she stands, 
challenge to herself on this account a just prerogative ; you, whom 
our university respects as chancellor ; whom the whole state cele 
brates as the father of your country ; whom the church recognises 
as a son serviceable both to its interest and safety. I pray God 
that he may preserve you ever in safety and prosperity to our 
church, state, university, and college. Farewell. 

Your most devoted servant, 


CAMBRIDGE. From the College of St John 
the Evangelist. April 30, 1588. 




I THIS day enter upon a new undertaking, often demanded by 
many and not unworthy of our university, the attempt to go 
through those controversies, both numerous and great, as ye all 
perceive, which are agitated between the Roman popish synagogue 
and our churches reformed according to the word of God. Ac 
customed as I have hitherto been to handle a sedate quiet kind of 
theology, I here come suddenly upon the sternest strifes and most 
violent contentions. I hope that this will appear matter of surprise 
or censure to none of you ; at least I should desire that the object 
of my intentions and design should meet with approbation from 
you all. For I have not been led to this undertaking through 
any rashness, or unreasonable and fickle impulses and movement 
of my feelings, through disgust of old subjects to look out for new 
ones ; but have proceeded with thought and deliberation, and not 
without the authority and encouragement of those who have the 
greatest influence in our church and university. Upon these grounds, 
I am confident that I shall undertake the task upon which I am now 
entering, not only without blame from any one, but with the highest 
satisfaction to all except the papists : which consideration inspires 
me with still greater alacrity for these controversies, although I am 
by no means ignorant that the toil which I shall have to undergo 
in managing them is at the same time increased and doubled. But 
for your interests I should willingly do anything, and spare no 
labour which I can perform. Indeed, if I wished to indulge myself, 
or had any concern for my own leisure, I should never have 
launched out upon this most stormy sea of controversies, in which 
I shall be exposed to such a tossing as I have never yet expe 
rienced in fulfilling the duties of my office, and where all the 
diligence must be applied, which is required by a business of the 
highest difficulty. But since our undertaking is both noble and 
necessary, and long and earnestly desired by you, it did not become 
me to balk your desires on account of the trouble of the task, but 


to lay out for the common good whatever strength and ability I 
may possess. 

Now of this discourse I perceive that the utility, or rather the 
necessity, is three-fold. In the first place, we have to treat not 
of the opinions of philosophers, which one may either be ignorant 
of, or refute with commendation, not of the forms of the lawyers, 
in which one may err without damage, not of the institutions of 
physicians, of the nature and cure of diseases, wherein only our 
bodily health is concerned, not of any slight or trivial matters ; 
but here the matter of our dispute is certain controversies of 
religion, and those of the last importance, in which whosoever errs 
is deceived to the eternal destruction of his soul. In a word, we 
have to speak of the sacred scriptures, of the nature of the church, 
of the sacraments, of righteousness, of Christ, of the fundamentals 
of the faith ; all which are of that nature, that if one be shaken, 
nothing can remain sound in the whole fabric of religion. If what 
these men teach be true, we are in a miserable condition ; we are 
involved in infinite errors of the grossest kind, and cannot possibly 
be saved. But if, as I am fully persuaded and convinced, it is 
they who are in error, they cannot deny that they are justly con 
demned if they still persist in their errors. For if one heresy be 
sufficient to entail destruction, what hope can be cherished for those 
who defend so many heresies with such obstinate pertinacity ? 
Therefore either they must perish, or we. It is impossible that 
we can both be safe, where our assertions and belief are so contra 
dictory. Since this is so, it behoves us all to bestow great pains 
and diligence in acquiring a thorough knowledge of these matters, 
where error is attended with such perils. 

Besides, there is another reason which renders the handling of 
these controversies at the present time not only useful, but even 
necessary. The papists, who are our adversaries, have long since 
performed this task ; they have done that which we are now only 
beginning to do. And although they can never get the better of 
us in argument, they have nevertheless got before us in time. 
They have two professors in two of their colleges, Stapleton at 
Douay, Allen at Rheims, both countrymen of ours, (besides other 
doctors in other academies,) who have explained many controversies 
and published books, Stapleton on the Church and Justification, 
Allen on the Sacraments. But beyond them all, in the largeness 
wherewith he hath treated these controversies, is Robert Bellar- 
mine, the Jesuit at Rome, whose lectures are passed from hand to 


hand, and diligently transcribed and read by very many. Indeed 
I should wish that they were published, and am surprised that they 
are not. But many copies of these lectures fly about everywhere 
among the papists, and sometimes, in spite of their precautions, fall 
into our hands. Shall we then, whilst these men defend their own 
side with such activity and zeal, lie idle and think nothing of the 
matter? These things, although they were in a fragmentary 
manner explained by the papists, in many commentaries and sepa 
rate books, yet are now handled in one single volume by them 
selves ; the object and design of which proceeding cannot possibly 
be a secret to any one. Why then should not we do the same, 
and put a complete body of controversies into men s hands, col 
lecting and compacting into one book whatever hath been disputed 
in defence of the truth against popery, by writers of our own or 
of any other party ? It is not every one that can at once form 
a judgment of an argument, or find out a fitting reply in the books 
of our divines. We must take measures for the security of these 
persons, and especially at the present time, when so many, partly 
by the reading of such books as are every day published by our 
adversaries, partly by too great a familiarity with papists, have 
fallen under a deplorable calamity, and deserted from us to the 
popish camp. 

Indeed, when I compare our side with the papists, I easily 
perceive the great truth of Christ s saying, that " the children 
of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of 
light." Mark well, I beseech you, with what solicitude, vigilance, 
and cunning, these men maintain their own kingdom ! Thev 
prevent their people from reading our books, and forbid them to 
have any intercourse with us, that so they may provide against 
the influence of that contagion which they fear. Surely this is 
wisely done. Who can deny it ? For if we be heretics, as they, 
though falsely, exclaim, it is but a just consequence of that opinion 
of us to denounce us, as persons to be carefully avoided by all who 
are under their control. In the meanwhile we buy, read, peruse 
all the productions of those whom we justly esteem heretics, and 
never suspect the possibility of any damage accruing from our 
conduct. Hence unskilful persons are easily deceived ; especially 
if there be any encourager at hand to lend an impulse, as there are 
at present everywhere too many. We avoid the acquaintance of 
no one ; yea, we take a pleasure in conversing with papists. This 
is all well, if your aim and desire be to reclaim them from their 


errors, and if you are able to do this, and see that there is any 

hope of them remaining. Those who are perverse and desperate 

should be left to themselves ; you can do them no service, and they 

may do you much damage. I commend courtesy in every one, 

specially in an academic or man of letters ; but courtesy should not 

be so intent upon its duties towards men as to forget piety and its 

duty towards God. Bellarmine compares heresy to the plague, 

and rightly. For the plague does not hang about the outward 

limbs, but attacks the heart, immediately poisons it with its venom, 

and suddenly destroys him who but a little before was in health ; 

then it spreads a fatal contagion to others also, and often pervades 

a whole family, sometimes fills the state itself with corpses and 

funerals. In like manner heresy especially assails the heart, and 

expels faith from the mind ; then creeps further and diffuses itself 

over many. If then you tender your salvation, approach not 

near so deadly a pestilence without an antidote or counterpoison. 

Speaking of Alexander the coppersmith, Paul gives this admonition, 

2 Tim. iv. 5, " Of whom be thou ware also ;" and subjoins as the 

reason of this caution, " for he hath greatly withstood our words." 

Those, therefore, who not only cherish in their own minds a perverse 

opinion in religion, but cry out against and oppose sound doctrine, 

and resist it to the utmost of their power, with such persons it is 

perilous and impious to live on pleasant and familiar terms. For, 

as the same apostle elsewhere directs, Tit. iii. 10, " A man that is 

a heretic, after the first and second admonition, must be avoided. 

For he is subverted, and sins against his own conscience, and is 

condemned by his own judgment." Tertullian, in his Prescriptions 

against heretics, declares that heresy should be "avoided as a 

deadly fever." Now " fever," says he 1 , "as is well known, we 

regard as an evil, in respect both of its cause and its power, with 

abomination rather than with admiration ; and, as far as we can, 

strive to avoid it, not having its extinction in our own power. But 

heresies inflict eternal death, and the burning of a still intenser 

fire." And Cyprian, Epist. 40 2 , "Fly far from the contagion of 

[ l Febrem ut malum, et de causa et potentia sua, ut notum eat, abomi- 
namur potius quam miramur, et quantum in nobis est prsecavemus, non 
habentes abolitionem ejus in nostra potestate : hsereses vero mortem seter- 
nam et majoris ignis ardorem inferent. Prescript. Hseret. c. ii.] 

[ 2 i. e. in Pamelius edition : but in Fell s (Amstel. 1691) Ep. xliii. p. 82. 
The words are : Procul ab hujusmodi hommum contagione discedite, et ser 




such men, and shun by flight their discourses as a canker or a 
pestilence ; since the Lord hath forewarned us, saying, They are 
blind, and leaders of the blind. " Similar to this is the admonition 
of Jerome, in his Epistle to Pammachius and Oceanus : " Beware, 
reader, of reading : fly the viper V Thus it behoves us to fly as 
poisonous vipers, not only the discourse, but the books and letters 
of heretical persons. For, as Ambrose says in his 80th Epistle, 
heretics " shed forth the speech of serpentine discourse, and, 
turning catholic truth into the madness of their own doctrine, 
traduce it after the example of the devil, and deceive the simplicity 
of the sheep 2 ." If this be true at any time, surely we have felt it 
true of the papists in our time. But let us return to the tenor of 
our present discourse. 

Besides the advantages of this task already enumerated this 
should be added, in the third place, that, when a fixed method of 
controversies hath been handled and explained by us, you will be 
enabled to set down and assign to its proper place and division 
whatever you may read yourselves in the books of ancient or later 
divines of any pertinence to these subjects, or whatever arguments 
against the papists may be suggested by your private meditations. 
Many things escape us in the course of our reading or reflexion, 
from our not knowing to what head they should be referred ; and 
many are ill arranged, so that, although we have noted them down, 
yet they do not readily present themselves at the proper time. But 
when every thing is duly distributed in meet order, it will be easy both 
to copy what we please in its appropriate place, and to find it there 
again whenever we chance to have occasion. And perhaps, in this 
first essay of ours, some things will be omitted (though we shall 
endeavour not to seem to omit many things and those of principal 
importance) but if any thing be omitted, it will claim its own 
place, and (as it were) its proper receptacle, when our work passes 
under a second review. 

And since the new popery, which in general may be called 
Jesuitism, differs widely from the old, and the former scholastic 

mones eorura velut cancer et pestem fugiendo vitate, prsemonente Domino et 
dicente, Cseci sunt et csecorum duces.] 

[* Cave, Lector, ne legas; fuge viperam.] 

[ 2 Sermonem serpentinae disputationis effundunt, atque veritatem eatho- 
licam rertendo ad suae doctririse rabiem diabolico more traducunt, atque 
ovium simplicitatem defraudant.] 


divinity delivered many things much otherwise than they are now 
maintained by the Roman church; we must, lest we should seem 
to construe the doctrines of the papists otherwise than the practice 
of the Roman church requires, or to take for granted what they 
grant not, or to ascribe to them opinions which they disclaim, take 
care to follow this order, namely, first to inquire what the 
council of Trent hath determined upon every question, and then 
to consult the Jesuits, the most faithful interpreters of that 
council, and other divines, and our countrymen at Rheims amongst 
the rest. And since Bellarmine hath handled these questions with 
accuracy and method, and his lectures are in every body s hands, 
we will make him, so to speak, our principal aim, and follow, as it 
were, in his very footsteps. 

Our arms shall be the sacred scriptures, that sword and shield 
of the word, that tower of David, upon which a thousand bucklers 
hang, and all the armour of the mighty, the sling and the 
pebbles of the brook wherewith David stretched upon the ground 
that gigantic and haughty Philistine. Human reasonings and tes 
timonies, if one use them too much or out of place, are like the 
armour of Saul, which was so far from helping David that it rather 
unfitted him for the conflict. Jerom tells Theophilus of Alexandria, 
that " a sincere faith and open confession requires not the artifice 
and arguments of words 3 . * However, since we have to deal with 
adversaries who, not content with these arms, use others with 
more readiness and pleasure, such as decrees of councils, judg 
ments of the fathers, tradition, and the practice of the church ; 
lest perchance we should appear to shrink from the battle, we have 
determined to make use of that sort of weapons also. And, indeed, 
I hope to make it plain to you, that all our tenets are not only 
founded upon scriptural authority, which is enough to ensure victory, 
but command the additional suffrage of the testimonies of fathers, 
councils, and, I will add, even of many of the papists, which is a 
distinguished and splendid ornament of our triumph. In every 
controversy, therefore, after the sacred scriptures of the old and new 
Testaments, we shall apply to the councils, the fathers, and even to 
our adversaries themselves ; so as to let you perceive that not only 
the ancient authors, but even the very adherents of the Roman 
church, may be adduced as witnesses in the cause. Thus it will be 
clear, that what Jerome, Epist. 139, applies out of Isaiah to the 

[ 3 Fides pura et aperta confessio non quserit strophas et argumenta 
verborum. Epist. Ixii. ad Theophil.J 



heretics, that "they weave the spider s thread," is pertinently 
applied to the papists. For, as Jerome says, they weave a 
web 1 " which can catch small and light animals, as flies and gnats, 
but is broken by the stronger ones." Just thus many stick fast in 
the subtleties of the papists, as flies do in the spider s web, from 
which they are unable to extricate themselves, though nothing can 
possibly be frailer than those threads. Such are the reasonings of 
the papists, even the Jesuits themselves ; who, although they seem 
to spin their threads with greater skill and artfulness, yet fabricate 
nothing but such cobwebs as may easily be broken by any vigorous 
effort. Be ye, therefore, of good cheer. We have a cause, believe 
me, good, firm, invincible. We fight against men, and we have 
Christ on our side ; nor can we possibly be vanquished, unless we 
are the most slothful and dastardly of all cowards. Once wrest 
from the papists what they adduce beside the scripture, and you 
will presently see them wavering, turning pale, and unable to keep 
their ground. Yet I do not ascribe to myself all those gifts of 
genius, judgment, memory and knowledge, which are demanded 
by such a laborious arid busy undertaking. I know well and 
acknowledge how slightly I am furnished with such endowments ; 
nor can any think so meanly of me as myself. But " I can do 
all things through Christ who strengtheneth me ;" relying upon 
whose assistance I enter upon the combat. They come against us 
with sword, and shield, and armour : we. go against them in the 
name of Jehovah of Hosts, of the armies of Israel, whom they have 

But it is now time to distribute the controversies themselves 
under their proper heads, that we may see beforehand the order in 
which we are to proceed. Bellarmine hath reduced all the con 
troversies to three articles of the Creed ; I believe in the Catholic 
Church, the Communion of Saints, the Forgiveness of Sins. In 
this respect 1 shall not follow Bellarmine. I have another, and 
more certain, plan and method of my own. He could not frame 
to his method the controversy concerning scripture, which assuredly 
challenges the first place for its nobility and importance. He there 
fore calls it a Proem, and says that he hath set it before the rest 
in the manner of a preface. But since popery is nothing else but 
mere antichristianism, it is evident that both must fall under the 
same rule and method, and that popery must have in it all the 

[* Quse parva et levia capere potest animalia, ut muscas et culices, a forti- 
oribus statim rumpitur. Epist. cxxxix. ad Ctyprianum.] 


heresies which belong to antichristianism. Now antichristianism 
consists not in the open and outward denial of Christ, or in the 
worn-out defence of obsolete heresies. For who would not imme- 
mediately recognise, cry out against and explode, the patrons of 
Cerinthus, Valentinus, Arius, Nestorius, and other heresiarchs of 
the same complexion ? Who could tolerate amongst Christians him 
who should openly and publicly deny Christ ? Antichrist was not 
so stupid as to hope that he would gain much by such a course as 
this. It was not fit, therefore, that antichrist should hold those 
errors which may be generally described as touching the nature of 
God, the mystery of the Trinity, the person of Christ. But, since 
antichrist must needs be the opposite of Christ, the same purpose 
must be gained in a more secret and more artful manner. For it 
is a certain mystery of iniquity, which in words establishes Christ, 
but in fact destroys him. This is the very antichristianism of the 
papists, who leave indeed the natures of Christ intact, but make 
away with the offices of Christ, and consequently Christ himself. 
For Jesus cannot be Christ, if he bear not all his offices and merits. 
Now these offices and benefits are designated by the very names 
CHRIST and JESUS. All the heresies of the papists (a very few 
excepted, which relate to his person,) concern these offices and 
merits of Christ : on which account it will be no inconvenient dis 
tribution of the popish errors and heresies, to set them forth as 
they are tenets opposed to Christ and Jesus. 

Survey now, I beseech you, this whole body of antichristianism, 
as I shall submit it to your inspection, that you may see, as it were 
in one view, a monster mis-shapen, vast, horrible, and manifold. For 
I will present to you the very portraiture and lineaments, drawn 
out and expressed as it were with one stroke of the pencil ; and 
afterwards distribute and describe its limbs more accurately, when 
we come to speak severally of each. The name of CHRIST denotes 
three offices, as you know, of Prophet, King, and Priest. That 
of JESUS sets before us the benefits of redemption and salvation ; 
and these latter benefits result from the former offices. For he 
was anointed to be our Prophet, King, and Priest, in order that he 
might discharge the function of our Saviour. Now, therefore, we 
should regard in Christ Jesus his offices and merits as well as his 
person. In the former the papists are wholly astray : in regard of 
his person they hold not many errors, but they have some. There 
are then two chief heads of these controversies ; concerning the 
.offices and benefits of Christ Jesus, and concerning his person. 


Hear, therefore, what particular heresies they maintain against 
Christ Jesus. 

The first office is that of PROPHET, which shews that the func 
tion of supreme teacher is to be ascribed to Christ. This saving 
teaching Christ hath proposed to his church in the scriptures. In 
defending this office of Christ against the papists we handle 
these controversies concerning the scriptures ; of the number of the 
canonical books of scripture ; of vernacular versions of scripture ; 
of the perspicuity of scripture ; of the authority of scripture ; of 
the interpretation of scripture ; of the perfection of scripture in 
opposition to human traditions, upon which our adversaries lay 
such weighty stress as to equal them even to the scriptures them 
selves. How far from slight this controversy is, you readily 

The second office of Christ is the ROYAL, which all the 
heretical opinions of the papists concerning the church impugn. 
The kingdom of Christ is the church ; in it he reigns and is sole 
monarch. This controversy is complex, and requires to be dis 
tributed into its several parts. The church is either militant or 
triumphant. We must dispute first of the militant, and afterwards 
of the triumphant church. Our controversies concern either the 
whole church militant, or the members of it. Of the whole 
what it is ; of what sort ; whether visible ; by what notes dis 
tinguished ; whether it may err ; what power it possesses ; 
whether the Roman be the true visible church of Christ. Next, 
we have to speak of the members of the church. These members 
are either collected in a council (which is the representative church), 
or considered separately. Here, therefore, we must treat of councils ; 
whether they must needs be assembled ; by whom they should be 
convoked ; of what persons they should consist ; what authority 
they have ; who should be the chief president in a council ; 
whether they are above the pope ; whether they may err. Next, 
we come to the several members of the church. Now they are 
divided into three classes. There is the principal member, or 
head, the intermediate members, and the lowest. They affirm 
the Roman pontiff to be the head of the church militant : where 
upon the question arises of the form of the church s government ; 
whether it be, or be not, monarchical ; whether the monarchy of the 
church was settled upon Peter ; whether Peter was bishop of the 
church of Rome, and died there ; whether the pope succeeds Peter 
in his primacy; whether he may err; whether he can make laws 


ecclesiastical ; whether he can canonize saints ; whether he hath 
temporal power; whether he be antichrist. The intermediate 
members are the clergy, of whom they make two sorts, some 
secular, some regular. Those are called secular, who are engaged 
in any ecclesiastical function. Now here arise controversies con 
cerning the election and rank of these persons, whether celibacy- 
be necessarily attached to the ministry, whether ministers be 
exempt from the secular yoke. The regulars are monks and mem 
bers of religious orders. Here we have to discourse of evangelical 
counsels, of vows, of retirement, of the dress and labours of monks, 
of the canonical hours. The lowest members, as they arrange 
them, are laymen, even kings or emperors. Here we have to in 
quire concerning the civil magistracy ; whether the care of religion 
appertains to the civil magistrate ; whether he may punish heretics 
capitally ; whether he can ever be excommunicated or deposed by 
the pope ; whether civil laws oblige the conscience. And so far of 
the church militant. 

Next follows the church triumphant ; which consists of angels 
and deceased saints. The controversies are, of the hierarchies, 
ministry, and invocation of angels. When we come to deceased 
saints, the occasion requires us to dispute, of the limbus patrum, 
of purgatory ; whether saints are to be invoked and adored, of the 
relics of saints, of the worship of images, of the temples of the 
saints, of their festivals, of pilgrimages to their places : and these 
controversies are concerning the royal office of Christ. 

His third office is that of PRIEST, which includes two functions, 
intercession and sacrifice. It pertains to intercession to inquire, 
whether Christ be the sole mediator of intercession. In the question 
of sacrifice, we shall have to explain the whole body of controversy 
concerning the sacraments; for by the sacraments, as so many 
means instituted by Christ, the efficacy of that sacrifice is derived 
to us. We must treat of sacraments, first generally, and then 
specially : generally, what a sacrament is, how many sacraments 
there be, what is the efficacy of the sacraments, what the distinction 
between the old and new sacraments : specially, concerning each 
of the sacraments by itself; and first, of baptism, whether those 
who die without baptism cannot be saved ; whether laymen or 
women can baptize; whether John s baptism was the same as 
Christ s ; whether the popish ceremonies are to be used in the ad 
ministration of baptism. After the sacrament of baptism, we have 
to speak of the eucharist, which topic contains most important con- 


troversies, of transubstantiation, of the sacrifice of the mass, of com 
munion in one kind. Next follow the five sacraments of the papists, 
upon which great controversies depend, of confirmation, of penance 
(where we shall have to treat of contrition, confession, satisfaction, 
indulgences), of extreme unction, of orders, of matrimony ; and all 
these controversies hitherto set forth belong to those three prime 
offices, which are signified by the name of CHRIST. 

Next we have to handle controversies concerning the benefits 
of our redemption and salvation, which are indicated by the very 
name of JESUS. Here first arise questions concerning predestination 
and reprobation; whether God hath predestinated or reprobated 
any persons, on what account he hath done so, whether predesti 
nation be absolute. Next we have to treat of sin, what it is, how 
manifold, whether all are born with the infection of original sin, 
even the virgin Mary ; whether all sins be equal ; whether any sin 
be venial of itself; whether concupiscence after baptism be sin; 
whether God be the author of sin. Next in order, we must speak 
of the law, whether it can be fulfilled, and even more done than 
it commands. Afterwards we must explain the controversy con 
cerning free-will ; faith, what it is and how manifold ; good works 
and merits ; justification. 

In the last place, there remain a few questions concerning the 
person of Christ, as whether he is avroOeos ; whether he increased 
in wisdom ; whether he suffered in his soul the pains of hell, and 
whatever others there be of this sort. 

You have now the principal classes and heads of those contro 
versies which are contested with the greatest earnestness between 
us and our adversaries at the present day. You see almost the 
whole mass and body of the popish heresies. In considering, re 
volving, and explicating these matters it becomes us now to be 
wholly occupied. We must begin from the first, and proceed 
through the intermediate to the last, at which we hope at length 
to arrive, and pray that the issue may correspond to our hope and 




WE will lay the foundation of this controversy in those words 
of Christ which are to be found in the fifth chapter of St John s 
Gospel at the thirty-ninth verse : Epevvare rets ypa<pa<;, SEARCH 
THE SCRIPTURES. Christ had been commended to the Jews by 
the testimony of John the Baptist. That testimony was most 
true and honourable; and could not be despised by the Jews 
themselves, amongst whom John lived in the highest respect and 
estimation. Yet Christ declares that he had others greater, more 
certain and more august than the testimony of John. He enume 
rates three of them : first, the works which he performed ; 
secondly, his Father who had sent him ; thirdly, the holy scrip 
tures themselves, which he calls his witnesses. The Jews, indeed, 
thought honourably of the scriptures, arid supposed that eternal 
life might be found in them. Nor does Christ blame in the least 
that judgment of theirs concerning the scriptures, but rather praises 
it. He bids them go on to " search the scriptures ;" he inflames in 
every way their zeal for the scriptures, and sharpens their industry. 
For he exhorts them not only to read, but search and thoroughly 
examine the scriptures : he would not have them content with a 
slight perusal, but requires an assiduous, keen, laborious diligence 
in examining and investigating their meaning, such as those apply 
who search with anxious toil for treasures buried in the earth. 

Now since Christ hath bid us search the scriptures without 
exception, not this part, or that part, or the other, it is mani 
fest that in these words we are commanded to search the whole of 
scripture ; not to confine ourselves to certain portions of it, while 
we despise or overlook the rest. All parts give plain testimony to 
Christ. But the scriptures are praised by the papists, as well as 


highly esteemed by us ; nor is there any controversy, whether 
the scriptures are to be searched. But concerning the due man 
ner of searching them, and who they are to whom that care 
appertains, and concerning the scriptures themselves, which we all 
unanimously affirm should be searched, there is a most important con 
troversy, which I shall now attempt to explain. In order to effect 
this clearly and methodically, I think it may be all divided into six 
questions, after the following manner. 

We are commanded to search the scriptures : and for that 
purpose we must first understand, what are those genuine books 
of scripture, in searching and turning over which it behoves us to 
be occupied. The first question therefore shall be, Of the num 
ber of the canonical books of scripture. 

We are commanded to search the scriptures : and therefore 
we must next consider, to whom this precept is addressed ; whether 
only to the learned, and those skilled in the ancient languages, 
or to all the faithful. The second question therefore shall be, 
Of versions of the scripture and sacred rites in the vulgar 

We are commanded to search the scriptures: whence it appears 
that the scriptures enjoy a very high dignity and authority, since 
Christ himself appeals and refers us to them. The third question 
therefore shall be, Of the authority of scripture ; whether it have 
this so great credibility and dignity of itself, and from the Holy 
Ghost its author, or from the testimony of the church. 

We are commanded to search the scriptures : whence some 
hope appears to be shewn that we shall come to understand them, 
and gain much profit by the search, if we do as we are commanded. 
Therefore the fourth question shall be, Of the perspicuity of 

We are commanded to search the scripture; that is, to seek 
and investigate the true sense of scripture, since the scripture lies 
wholly in the meaning. Therefore the fifth question shall be, Of 
the interpretation of scripture ; how it is to be interpreted, and 
who has the right and authority of interpretation. 

We are commanded to search the scripture : and under the 
name of scripture the written word of God is plainly understood. 
Here then we must consider whether we are only bound to search 
the scripture, or whether, beside the scripture, something else be 
commended to our investigations. Therefore the sixth and last 
question shall be, Of the perfection of scripture ; which I shall 


prove to be so absolutely complete that we should wholly acquiesce 
in it, and need desire nothing more, and that unwritten traditions 
are by no means necessary for us. 

These questions I purpose to treat in the order in which I have 
proposed them. 



THE books of scripture are called canonical, because they con 
tain the standard and rule of our faith and morals. For the scrip 
ture is in the church what the law is in a state, which Aristotle 
in his Politics calls a canon or rule. As all citizens are bound to 
live and behave agreeably to the public laws, so Christians should 
square their faith and conduct by the rule and law of scripture. 
So, in Eusebius 1 , the holy fathers accuse Paul of Samosata of 
departing from the rule (aTroa-rck CLTTO TOV KO.VOVOS), and becoming 
the author of an heretical opinion. So Tertullian, in his book 
against Hermogenes 2 , calls the scripture the rule of faith; and 
Cyprian says, in his discourse upon the baptism of Christ : " One 
will find that the rules of all doctrine are derived from this scrip 
ture ; and that, whatever the discipline of the church contains 
springs hence, and returns hither 3 ." Chrysostom too, in his 13th 

OTTOV 8e a7roo~Ta$ TOV KO.VOVOS Ctrl Ki/33f/Aa KOI voBa 

, ovSei/ 6el TOV ea> OVTOS ray Trpd^eis Kpivfiv, H. E. VII. 30. T. 3. p. 
391. ed. Heinich. Lips. 1828. But it is most probably the Creed that is 
there meant.] 

[ 2 Whitaker most probably refers to the famous passage, c. xxii. " Adoro 
plcnitudinem scripturse," &c. cited below, Qu. 6. c. xvi., and produced also 
by Cosin (Scholastical History of the Canon, chap. i. . 1.) in proof that the 
Church always regarded scripture as "the infallible RULE of our FAITH." 
Some, however, suppose that Tertullian refers to scripture, and not the 
Creed, in these words : " Solemus hsereticis compendii gratia de posteritate 
prscscribere : in quantum enim veritatis regula prior, quse etiam futuras 
hcereses prcenuntiavit, in tantum posteriores quseque doctrines hsereses prse- 
judicabuntur." Adv. Hermog. i. (Opp. P. iv. p. 1. ed. Leopold. Lipsise, 1841.) 
For the Creed contains no prediction of heresies.] 

[ 3 This treatise, falsely ascribed to Cyprian, may be found in the works 
of Arnold ofChartres (Carnotensis) subjoined to Fell s Cyprian (Amstel. 1691). 
The passage cited is at p. 33 : " Inveniet ex hac scriptura omnium doctrina- 


Homily upon 2 Corinthians calls scripture the exact balance, and 
standard, and rule of all things." For the same reason Augustine 
affirms, that " whatever belongs to faith and moral life may be 
found in the scriptures 1 ;" and he calls the scripture the scales, in 
the following passage : " Let us not apply deceitful scales, where 
we may weigh what we wish, and as we wish ; but let us bring 
God^s own scales from the holy scriptures," &c. 

So Basil calls the sacred doctrine " the canon of rectitude and 
rule of truth," which fails in no part of perfection : and Ruffinus, 
in his exposition of the creed, after enumerating the books of 
scripture, adds, " These are the books which the fathers included 
in the canon, and from which they willed that the assertions of our 
faith should be demonstrated 2 ;" and then he subjoins: "From 
these fountains of the divine word our cups are to be drawn 3 ." 
Aquinas too lays down, that " the doctrine of the apostles and 
prophets is called canonical, because it is, as it were, the rule of 
our intellect 4 ." Hence it plainly appears why the scriptures are 
called canonical ; because they prescribe to us what we must 
believe, and how we ought to live : so that we should refer to this 
test our whole faith and life, as the mason or architect squares his 
work by the line and plummet. Hence, too, we may perceive that 
the scripture is perfect, since otherwise the title of canon or rule 
could hardly be applied to it ; upon which point we shall have to 
speak under the sixth question. 

Now these books, which are called canonical, are comprised in 
the old and new Testaments, and are therefore styled Testa 
mentary. So Eusebius calls these books evSiaOqicous 5 ; and Nice- 
phorus often uses the same term. Some also call them S 

rum regulas emanasse ; et hinc nasci, et hue reverti, quidquid ecclesiastica 
continet disciplina." But Arnold is not speaking of the whole scripture, but 
of the command to love God.] 

f 1 See these passages cited more fully below. Qu. 6. c. 16.] 

[ 2 Hsec sunt quse patres intra canonem concluserunt ; ex quibus fidei 
nostrse assertiones constare voluerunt. Ad Calc. Opp. Cypriani, p. 26, ut 

[ 3 Hsec nobis a patribus, ut dixi, tradita opportunum visum est hoc in 
loco designare, ad instructionem eorum qui prima sibi ecclesise ac fidei 
elementa suscipiunt, ut sciant ex quibus sibi fontibus verbi Dei haurienda 
eint pocula. Ibid. p. 27.] 

[ 4 Doctrina apostolorum et prophetarum canonica dicitur, quia est quasi 
regula intellectus nostri. Thomse Aquin. in 1 Tim. vi. Lect. 1.] 

[ 5 H. E. Lib. V. C. 25. OVK cvdiodqieovr pry, dXXa KCU ai 


*ypa(povs. The question, then, between us and the papists is, 
YVhat books are to be esteemed canonical and testamentary. Con 
cerning many, and indeed the principal ones, we are agreed : con 
cerning some we are at variance. But, in order that the true state 
of this question may be understood, we must see, in the first place, 
what the council of Trent hath determined upon this subject. Its 
words are as follows : " The synod hath deemed it fitting that a 
catalogue of the sacred books should be subjoined to this decree, 
lest any should have occasion to doubt what books are received by 
it 6 ." Then it recites the books which are truly canonical, and 
are received by us without any hesitation. But it subjoins others 
which we do not acknowledge as canonical. Such are these six 
books : Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, two books of Mac 
cabees. These are the books of the old Testament. Afterwards, 
it enumerates the books of the new Testament, all of which we 
receive without any controversy, although they were not always 
alike received in the church, as you shall hear in the sequel. 
Finally, the council concludes in these words : " Whoever does not 
receive these books entire with all their parts, as they are con 
tained in the ancient Latin Vulgate, for sacred and canonical, let 
him be accursed 7 !" Here you have the decree of the Tridentine 
council, and the terrible sanction of that decree. From these pre 
mises it now appears that we are required by the Tridentine 
fathers, if we would escape their anathema, to receive as autho 
ritative canonical scripture not only those six entire books which 
we have mentioned, but besides certain parts of and additions to 
the books, as Baruch, the Hymn of the three Children, the histo 
ries of Susannah and Bel and the Dragon, which are attributed to 
Daniel, and certain apocryphal chapters of the book of Esther : 
for it is thus that the Jesuits interpret the meaning of this decree. 
Now, therefore, the state of the question is this ; whether these 
books, and these parts of books, should be received for sacred and 
canonical scriptures ? They affirm : we deny. It remains that we 
should proceed to the discussion. I will first answer their arguments, 
and then proceed to the defence of our cause ; which course I 

[ 6 Sacrorum vero librorum indicem huic decreto adhibendum censuit, no 
cui dubitatio suboriri possit, quinain sint, qui ab ipsa synodo suscipiuntur. 
Concil. Trid. Sess. iv. Decret. l.J 

[? Si quis autem hos libros ipsos integros cum omnibus suis partibus, 
prout in ecclesia catholica legi consueverunt, et in veteri vulgata editiono 
habentur, pro sacris et canonicis non susceperit. . . . Anathema sit. Ibid.] 


intend to follow throughout, because I deem it most suitable to the 
matter we have in hand, and I perceive that it hath been gene 
rally adopted by Aristotle. And since, as Nazianzen tells us, 
" every argument is designed either to establish our own opinion, 
or overturn the opposite 1 ," I will choose first to overturn the oppo 
site opinion, and then to establish my own. 



BUT, before I proceed, I deem it necessary for you to censure 
the madness of certain ancient heretics, who impiously removed 
some certain and undoubted parts of scripture from the sacred 
canon. Such heretics, indeed, there were in great numbers, as we 
read in Irenseus, Tertullian, Epiphanius, Augustine, and others. 
I shall not endeavour to go through them all, but will enumerate 
for you the principal. 

First of all, the Sadducees received no scriptures but the five 
books of Moses 2 . This many suppose to have been the reason 
why Christ (Matt, xxii.) refutes the Sadducees denying the resur 
rection, by the testimony of the Mosaic scripture. Simon, follow 
ing in their steps, declared that the prophets were not at all to be 
regarded; as Irena3us testifies 3 , Lib. i. c. 20. The Manichees 
rejected the whole old Testament, as proceeding from the evil God : 
for they imagined two gods, the one good and the other evil. Epi 
phanius has treated upon this subject, Ha3res. Ixvi. So Saturninus 
rejected the God of the Jews, and consequently the whole old 
Testament, as Irena3us tells us, Lib. I. c. 22 4 . The impious Mar- 
cion insulted with a load of reproaches the God who is preached in 
the law and the prophets, and held that Christ had come to dis- 

[! AITTOI) OVTOS Xoyov Travrbs, rov /zei> TO oiKfiov Karao-Kcva^ovros, rov de rb 
avriiraXov dvaTpetrovTos. Orat. xxxv. p. 562. A. Nazianz. Opp. T. I. Colon. 1690.] 

[ 2 This common notion is reasonably doubted by many. See Jortin s 
Remarks, B. xi. Appendix 1, on the Sadducees, Vol. i. p. 439.] 

[ 3 Prophetas autem a mundi fabricatoribus angelis inspiratos dixisse pro- 
phetias ; quapropter nee ulterius curarent eos hi, qui in eum et in Selenen 
ejus spem habeant. P. 116. B. ed. Fevard. Paris. 1685.] 

[ 4 Judseorum Deum unum ex angelis esse dixit, et . . . advenisse Christum 
ad destructionem Judseorum Dei Prophetias autem quasdam quidem 


solve the law and the prophets, and the works of that God who 
made the world. This Irenaeus tells us 5 , Lib. I. c. 29. Such frantic 
men Christ himself expressly refutes by his own words, when he 
says, that he did not come to destroy the law and the prophets, 
but to fulfil. Matt. v. 17. This heresy Augustine also imputes to 
the Cerdonians, whom he affirms to hold the old Testament in con 
tempt 6 , (Ad Quod vult Deum, c. 21), and to the Severians, of 
whom he writes, " They condemn the resurrection of the flesh and 
the old Testament 7 ," (ibid. c. 24.) Guido Cameracensis reckons 
this also amongst the heresies of the Albigenses. This heresy is 
refuted by Epiphanius, in the place which I have already cited, 
and most copiously by Augustine against Faustus the Manichee, 
and against the adversary of the law and the prophets. 

The Ptolemasans condemned the books of Moses 8 , as Epipha 
nius relates, Haeres. xxxiii. The Nicolaitans and Gnostics ejected 
the book of Psalms from the sacred canon, as Philaster informs us, 
(in Lib. de Haar. c. 127) ; which heresy the Anabaptists have 
renewed in our times. But all these heretics are refuted by the 
clearest evidence of the new Testament. 

Many formerly, as Philaster relates (in Cat. c. 132, 133), 
rejected the books of Solomon, and especially Ecclesiastes and 
the Song of Songs ; because in the former Solomon seems to invite 
men to a life of pleasure, and in the latter, to relate certain 
amatory discourses between himself and Pharaoh s daughter. But 
it is plain that these men fell into a manifest and impious error. 
For in Ecclesiastes Solomon does not allure men to enjoy tho 
pleasures and blandishments of the world, but rather deters them 
from such pleasures, and exhorts them, with a divine eloquence, to 

ab iis angelis qui mundum fabricaverunt dictas ; quasdam autem a Satana, 
quern et ipsum angelum adversarium mundi fabricator! bus ostendit ; maxime 
autem Judseorum Deo. Ibid. p. 118, c.] 

[ 5 Marcion . . . impudorate blasphemans eum qui a lege et prophetis an- 
nunciatus est Deus . . . Jesum autem [dicens] . . . venientem in Judseam . . . 
dissolventem prophetas et legem, et omnia opera ejus Dei qui mundum 
fecit. Ibid. p. 129, A.] 

[ 6 Resurrectionem mortuorum negat, spernens etiam Testamentum Vetus. 
Augustini Opp. T. vm. col. 43, A. Paris. 1837.] 

[7 Carnis resurrectionem cum Vetere Testamento respuentes. Ibid, c.] 

[ 8 Ilapa yap roiy flprjp.evois Sfat rov vopov TOV 0eoO rov dca Mwa-eas 
P\ao-<pT]na>v OVK aurxwerat. Ed. Petav. Colon. 1682. T. I. p. 216. See the 
curious epistle of Ptolemseus to Flora, which he there subjoins, given also by 
Grabe, Spicil. 11. 69.] 


despise and contemn the present world. Thus at the very com 
mencement he exclaims, " Vanity of vanities, all is vanity :" 
in which words he declares that all those things which are sought 
after in this world, are uncertain, transitory, and fallacious. Whence 
it necessarily follows that those are mad who acquiesce in the 
enjoyment of such objects. And so (after having disputed through 
the whole book against those who pursue these pleasures so 
greedily, and desire to satisfy themselves with such goods, what 
ever they are) he at the close teaches that happiness consists not, 
as many suppose, in things of this kind, but in true piety, and 
thus concludes: "Fear God, and keep his commandments; for this 
is the whole of man." This is not the judgment of an Epicurus, 
but of a holy prophet, withdrawing foolish men from the pursuit 
of worthless objects, and recalling .them into the true path of a 
pious and a happy life. 

In the Song, if Solomon had wished to praise his wife, he 
would not have used such prodigious and absurd comparisons. For 
he compares her to the cavalry of Pharaoh, her head to Carmel, 
her eyes to fish-ponds, her nose to a tower, her teeth to a 
flock of sheep ; and finally pronounces her whole person terrible 
as an army. Such things do not suit the daughter of Pharaoh 
and the bride of Solomon. They must, therefore, be referred 
to the mystic bride of another Solomon, that is, to the Church 
of Christ, whose consummate union of faith and love with her 
spouse this whole book sets forth; as, indeed, all men of sound 
judgment have always determined. Nor is the fact, that none of 
the customary names of God occur in this book, any proof that 
it is not canonical. For, although such names are omitted, yet 
others are used of the same kind and importance, as shepherd, 
brother, friend, beloved, spouse, which were much more suitable to 
the style of such a piece : since he, whom the bride so often 
addresses under these names, is no other than Christ, at once the 
true Son of God, and the true God himself. 

We care little for the impious Anabaptists, who reject this book 
with contempt; nor can we at all excuse Castalio 1 , if he really wrote 

P I write the name thus in conformity with Whitaker s usage ; but the 
correct form is Castellio. See the curious history of the origin of the other 
form in Bayle, CASTALIO, Rem. M. Wi% respect to the imputation men 
tioned in the text, Varillas charges it upon Castellio more definitely, stating 
this injurious opinion of the Canticles to be avowed by him in his argument 
to that book. Bayle observes, that in five editions of Castellio s bible which he 


what some object to him ; that this book is nothing but a conver 
sation which Solomon held with his Sularnith. 

The Anabaptists are said, at the present day, to reject and 
ridicule the book of Job, and some have written that it is called 
by those heretics a Hebrew Tragi- Comedy. This they would seem 
to have learned from the wicked Jews : for certain rabbins, 
authors of the Talmudic fables, affirm 2 that it is a fictitious story, 
and no such man ever existed. The impudence of these persons is 
refuted by other testimonies of scripture. For, in Ezekiel xiv. 14, 
the Lord says : " If these three men were in the midst thereof, 
Noah, Daniel, and Job, &c." Whence we perceive that Job must 
have really existed, as no one doubts that Noah and Daniel did. 
Paul too cites a clear testimony from this book (1 Cor. iii. 19) : 
" He taketh the wise in their own craftiness ;" which words we 
find, in Job v. 13, to have been pronounced by Eliphaz. The 
apostle James, also, hath mentioned this man, James v. 11. Hence 
it is manifest that this was a true history, and that the book itself 
is canonical, and that they who determine otherwise are to be 
esteemed as heretics. 

Jerome, in the Proem of his Commentaries on Daniel 3 , relates 
that Porphyry the philosopher wrote a volume against the book of 
our prophet Daniel, and affirmed that what is now extant under 
the name of Daniel, was not published by the ancient prophet, but 
by some later Daniel, who lived in the times of Antiochus Epipha- 
nes. But we need not regard what the impious Porphyry may 
have written, who mocked at all the scriptures and religion itself, 

examined, he could find no argument to that book whatever. However, in tho 
London edition of the Latin bible (in 4 vols. 12mo. 1726), there is the follow 
ing : " Colloquium Servatoris et Ecclesice. Domestic! in Ecclesise (Ecclesia) 
hostes. Servator, lilium Columba. Solomo Christi Imago. Ad puellas vir, 
et ad virum puellae. Ecclesise pulchritudo. Servatoris in Ecclesiam Stu- 
dium. Ecclesia vinea copiosa."] 

[ 2 Nosti quosdam esse, qui dicunt Jobum nunquam fuisse, neque creatum 
esse; sed historiam ejus nihil aliud esse quam parabolam. Maimonides, 
Moreh Nevoch. par. in. c. 22. Compare Manasseh Ben Israel, de Resurr. 
Mort. p. 123.] 

[ 3 Contra prophetam Danielem duodecimum librum scripsit Porphyrius, 
nolens eum ab ipso, cujus inscriptus est nomine, esse compositum, sed a quo- 
dam qui temporibus Antiochi Epiphanis fuerit in Judsea ; et non tarn Danie 
lem ventura dixisse, quam ilium narrasse prseterita. T. in. p. 1071, &c. ed. 

-i 3 



and whose calumnies were refuted by Eusebius, Apollinarius and 
Methodius 1 , as Jerome testifies in the above-cited place. So far 
concerning the old Testament. 

The new Testament, also, was formerly assaulted in various 
ways by heretics and others. The Manichees shewed themselves 
no less impious and sacrilegious towards the books of the new Tes 
tament than they were towards those of the old. They were not 
afraid to say that the books of the apostles and evangelists were 
stuffed full of lies : which madness and frenzy of theirs Augustine 
hath most learnedly confuted in his thirty-second book against 
Faustus the Manichee. 

Others received no gospel but that of Luke, and hardly any 
other part of the new Testament ; as Cerdon and his disciple Marcion. 
Tertullian speaks of these towards the end of his Prescriptions 2 : 
" Cerdon receives only the gospel of Luke, nor even that entire. 
He takes the epistles of Paul, but neither all of them, nor in their 
integrity. He rejects the Acts of the Apostles and the Apocalypse 
as false. After him appeared his disciple, Marcion by name, who 
endeavoured to support the heresy of Cerdon." These men took 
away almost the whole contents of the new Testament. 

The Valentinians admitted no gospel but that of John, as Ire- 
nseus tells us 3 ; (Lib. in. c. 11.) which error the papists charge on 
Luther also, but most falsely, as they themselves well know. The 
Alogians 4 , on the contrary, rejected all John s writings, and were 
so called because they would not acknowledge as God the Logos, 

[* Cui solertissime responderunt Csesariensis Episcopus Apollinarius 

quoque et ante hos, ex parte, Methodius. Ibid.] 

[ 2 Solum Evangelium Lucse, nee totum recipit, Apostoli Pauli neque om- 
nes neque totas epistolas sumit; Acta Apostolorum et Apocalypsin quasi 
falsa rejicit. Post hunc discipulus ipsius emersit, Marcion quidam nomine. . . 
hceresin Cerdonis approbare conatus est. c. 51. This piece, which forms 
the concluding part of the Prescriptions (from c. 45), seems the work of 
some later hand.] 

[ 3 Hi autem qui a Valentino sunt, eo quod est secundum Joannem ple- 
nissime utentes ad ostensionem conjugationum suarum, ex ipso detegentur 
nihil recto dicentes. p. 258, D.] 

[ 4 Lardner, History of Heretics, chap. 23 (Works, 4to ed., Vol. IV. p. 690), 
considers the existence of such a heresy very doubtful; but I cannot see 
sufficient ground for all his suspicions. However, it is hard to believe that 
any men in their senses ever ascribed all John s writings to Cerinthus, as 
Epiphanius seems to say, p. 424.] 


whom John declares to be God in the beginning of his gospel. 
This is related by Epiphanius (Haor. Lib. i.), who gave them this 
appellation upon that account. 

Irenaeus relates 5 (Lib. i. c. 26.), that the Ebionites received 
only the gospel according to Matthew, and rejected the apostle 
Paul as an apostate from the law. 

The Severians made no account of the Acts of the Apostles, as 
Eusebius informs us, Lib. iv. c. 27 6 . 

The Marcionites rejected both epistles to Timothy, the epistle 
to Titus, and the epistle to the Hebrews, as Epiphanius records, 

Chrysostom and Jerome 8 , in the Preface to the epistle of Paul 
to Philemon, testify that it was by some not received as canonical ; 
which conclusion they were led into by considering that human 
frailty could not bear the continual uninterrupted action of the 
Holy Ghost, and that the apostles must have spoken some things 
by a mere human spirit. Amongst these they classed this epistle, 
as containing in it nothing worthy of an apostolic and divine au 
thority, or useful to us. Chrysostom 9 refutes this opinion, with 
much truth and beauty, in the Argument of this epistle, and teaches 
us that many noble and necessary lessons may be learned from it: 
first, that we should extend our solicitude to the meanest persons : 
secondly, that we should not despair of slaves, (and therefore, still 
less of freemen,) however wicked and abandoned : thirdly, that it is 
not lawful for any one to withdraw a slave from his master under 
pretence of religion : fourthly, that it is our duty not to be ashamed 
of slaves, if they be honest men. Who now will say that this 
epistle is useless to us, from which we may learn so many and 

[ 5 Solo autem eo quod est secundum Matthseum Evangelic utuntur, et 
Apostolum Paulum recusant, apostatam esse eum Legis dicentes. p. 127, c.] 

[6 ~B\acr(pr]iJiovvTs 8e Hav\ov TOV drrocrToXov, aQeTOV&w ai/TOv TO.S eViOToXas-, 
/MTySe TO.S Trpd^eis ra>i> a7roo"rdAcor> KaraSe^d^tevot. T. I. p. 409.] 

[^ ETriOToAaff nap UVTM TOV dyiov aTrocrrdAou Se/ca, ais p.6vais K}(pi)TCU. . 9. 
T. I. p. 309. D.] 

[ 8 Volunt aut epistolam non esse Pauli, quse ad Philemonem scribitur ; 
aut etiam si Pauli sit, nihil habere quod edificare nos possit. Hieron. prref. 
in Ep. ad. Philem. T. iv. p. 442.] 

[ 9 The best edition of Chrysostom s admirable Commentary on the epistle 
to Philemon is that by Raphelius, subjoined to Vol. n. of his Annotationes 
Philologicse. Lugd. Bat. 1747. The reader will find the passage here re 
ferred to at pp. 28, 30, 32.] 



such distinguished lessons ? Forasmuch, therefore, as this epistle 
was both written by Paul, and contains in it such excellent in 
struction, it ought not by any means to be rejected. 

Such, then, was the opinion, or rather the mad raving of the 
heretics concerning the sacred books. There were others also, who 
either rejected altogether certain books and parts of books of the 
new Testament, or else allowed them no great authority, whom it is 
not necessary to enumerate : for we must not spend too much time in 
recording or refuting such persons. But the Schwenkfeldtians 1 and 
Libertines, proceeding to a still greater length in their wickedness, 
despise the whole scripture, and insult it with many reproaches, 
holding that we should attend not to what the scriptures speak, 
but to what the Spirit utters and teaches us internally. Of these, 
Hosius Polonus writes thus, in his book concerning the express 
word of God : " \Ye will dismiss the scriptures, and rather listen 
to God speaking to us, than return to those beggarly elements. 
One is not required to be learned in the law and scriptures, but to 
be taught of God. Vain is the labour which is expended upon 
scripture : for the scripture is a creature and a beggarly sort of 
element 2 ." Many passages of scripture condemn this monstrous 
heresy. Christ says : " Search the scriptures." Paul says : 
" Whatsoever things were written of old time were written for our 
learning." Rom. xv. 4. And elsewhere : " All scripture is given 
by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for correction, 
for reproof, and for instruction in righteousness." 2 Tim. iii. 16. 
There are innumerable such testimonies, by which the authority of 
the scriptures is fully proved, and the blasphemy of these men 
refuted ; against which our divines have also written many ex 
cellent discourses. 

At the same time that we justly condemn the heresies which 
I have mentioned, we cannot but wholly disapprove the opinion of 
those, who think that the sacred writers have, in some places, fallen 

t 1 So called from Gaspar Schwenckfeldt, a Silesian knight, and counsellor 
to the Duke of Lignitz, who died in 1561. See an account of him in Mos- 
heim, Cent. xvi. Sect. ill. part n. c. 1, 23, 24.] 

[ 2 Nos . . . ipsas scripturas . . . facessere jubebimus, et Deum loquentem 
potius audiemus, . . . quam ad egena ista elementa nos convertamus. . . . Non 
oportet legis et scripturse peritum esse, sed a Deo doctum. Yanus est labor 
qui scripturse impenditur : scriptura enim creatura est, et egenum quoddam 
elementum. Hos. Op. Col. 1584. De express. Dei Verbo. Tom. i. p. 624.] 


into mistakes. That some of the ancients were of this opinion 
appears from the testimony of Augustine, who maintains, in oppo 
sition to them 3 , " that the evangelists are free from all falsehood, 
both from that which proceeds from deliberate deceit, and that 
which is the result of forgetfulness." (De Cons. Ev. Lib. n. c. 12.) 
Consequently, Jerome judged wrong, if he really judged, as Erasmus 
supposes 4 , "that the evangelists might have fallen into an error of 
memory." Erasmus himself, indeed, determines that it is neither 
impious nor absurd to think so ; and allows it possible that Matthew, 
for instance, in that place of his 27th chapter, may have put the 
name of Jeremiah instead of Zechariah. Upon which place Erasmus 
writes thus : " But although this were a slip of memory merely in 
the name, I do not suppose that one ought to be so over-scrupulous 
as that the authority of the whole scripture should seem invalidated 
on that account 5 . But it does not become us to be so easy and 
indulgent as to concede that such a lapse could be incident to the 
sacred writers. They wrote as they were moved by the Holy 
Ghost, as Peter tells us, 2 Pet. i. 21. And all scripture is inspired 
of God, as Paul expressly writes, 2 Tim. iii. 16. Whereas, there 
fore, no one may say that any infirmity could befall the Holy 
Spirit, it follows that the sacred writers could not be deceived, or 
err, in any respect. Here, then, it becomes us to be so scrupulous 
as not to allow that any such slip can be found in scripture. For, 
whatever Erasmus may think, it is a solid answer which Augustine 
gives to Jerome : " If any, even the smallest, lie be admitted in 
the scriptures, the whole authority of scripture is presently inva 
lidated and destroyed 6 ." That form which the prophets use so 

[ 3 Omnem autem falsitatem abesse ab Evangelistis decet, non solum earn 
quse mentiendo promitur, sed etiam earn quae obliviscendo. Aug. Opp. T. HI. 
P. n. 1310. B.] 

[ 4 Erasmus (loc. infra citat.) gives Jerome s own words from his epistle 
de optima genere interpretandi : Accusent Apostolum falsitatis, quod nee cum 
Hebraico nee cum Septuaginta congruat translatoribus, et, quod his majus 
est, erret in nomine : pro Zacharia quippe Hieremiam posuit. Sed absii hoc 
de pedissequo Christi dicere, cui curse fuit non verba et syllabas aucupari, 
sed sententias dogmatum ponere. Epist. ci. T. n. p. 334. Antv. 1579.] 

[ 5 Ceterum etiamsi fuisset in nomine duntaxat memorise lapsus, non opi- 
nor quemquam adeo morosum esse oporteret, ut ob earn causam totius scrip- 
turse sacrse labasceret auctoritas. Erasm. Annot. p. 107. Froben. Basil. 1535.] 

[ 6 Si mendacium aliquod in scripturis vel levissimum admittatur, scrip- 
turae auctoritatem omnem mox labefactari ac convelli. This is the quotation 
as given by Whitaker in his text. The following is probably the passage 


often, " Thus saith the Lord," is to be attributed also to the apostles 
and evangelists. For the Holy Spirit dictated to them whatever 
things they wrote ; whose grace (as Ambrose writes, Lib. n. in Luc.) 
"knows nothing of slow struggles 1 ." Hence neither can that be 
tolerated which Melchior Canus has alleged, (Lib. n. c. 18. ad 6) 
in explanation of a certain difficulty in the Acts of the Apostles, 
chap. vii. 16 ; where Stephen says, that Abraham bought a se 
pulchre from the sons of Emmor, whereas Moses relates that the 
sepulchre was purchased by Jacob, not by Abraham. Canus thinks 
that Stephen might have made a mistake in relating so long a 
history, but that Luke committed no error, since he faithfully re 
corded what Stephen said 2 . But that answer draws the knot tighter, 
instead of loosing it : for Stephen was not only full of the Holy 
Ghost, but is even said to have spoken by the Holy Ghost. Acts 
vi. 10. Stephen, therefore, could no more have mistaken than 
Luke ; because the Holy Ghost was the same in Luke and in 
Stephen, and had no less force in the one than in the other. Be 
sides, if we concede that Stephen mistook or was deceived, I do not 
see how he can excuse Luke for not rectifying the error. Therefore 
we must maintain intact the authority of scripture in such a sense 
as not to allow that anything is therein delivered otherwise than the 
most perfect truth required. Wherefore I cannot understand with 
what degree of prudence and consideration Jerome can have written 
that, which he says is to be noted, in his Questions upon Genesis : 
" Wherever the apostles or apostolical men speak to the people, 
they generally use those testimonies which had gotten into common 
use amongst the nations 3 ." 

intended : Admisso enim semel in tantum auctoritatis fastigium officioso ali- 
quo mendacio, nulla illorum librorum particula remanebit, &c. Epist. xix. 
Tom. ii. p. 14.] 

[! Nescit tarda molimina Sancti Spiritus gratia, c. xix. Ambros. Opp. 
T. v. p. 46. Paris. 1838.] 

[ 2 Stephano id quod vulgo solet accidisse, ut in longa videlicet narratione, 
eademque prsesertim subita, confuderit nonnulla et miscuerit, in quibusdam 
etiam memoria lapsus fuerit ; . . . . Lucas vero, historise veritatem retinere 
volens, ne iota quidem immutavit, sed rem ut a Stephano narrata erat ex- 
posuit. Melch. Cani Loc. Theolog. fol. 89. 2. Colon. Agripp. 1585.] 

[ 3 Ubicunque Sancti Apostoli aut Apostolici viri loquuntur ad populos, 
iis plerumque testimoniis abutuntur, quse jam fuerant in gentibus divulgata. 
Hieron. Qusest. Hebr. in Genes. T. in. p. 468.] 




HAVING now premised a brief explanation of these matters, we 
will come to the discussion of the cause and question proposed. And 
first, we shall have to treat of the six entire books, Tobit, Judith, 
Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, and the two books of Maccabees, all together; 
and then, of those several books taken separately, as likewise of 
those fragments and parts of books, Esther, Baruch, &c. 

Our adversaries have but one argument in behalf of these 
books, which is derived from the authority of certain councils and 
fathers. They allege, in the first place, the third council of Carthage, 
(in which Augustine himself bore a part,) can. 47 4 , wherein all 
these books are counted canonical. Should any one object, that 
this council was only provincial, not general, and that its judgment 
is, therefore, of less consequence ; our antagonists proceed to shew, 
that this council was confirmed by pope Leo IV. (Dist. 20. C. de 
libellis), and also in the sixth general council held at Constantinople, 
which is called Trullan, can. 2. Hence they argue, that although 
the decree of the council of Carthage might not, perhaps, be strong 
enough of itself to prove this point, yet, since it is confirmed by 
the authority of this pope and of a general council, it hath in it as 
much efficacy as is required to be in any council. Besides, they 
adduce the council of Florence under Eugenius IV. (in Epistol. 
ad Armenos), that of Trent under Paul III. (sess. 4), and pope 
Gelasius with a council of seventy bishops 5 . Of fathers, they cite 
Innocent I., who was also a pope, in his third Epistle to Exuperius 
of Tholouse ; Augustine, Lib. 11. c. 8. De Doctrina Christiana ; 
Isidore of Seville, Etymolog., Lib. vi. c. 1. So that the argument 
of our opponents runs thus : these councils and these fathers affirm 
these books to belong to the sacred canon ; therefore, these books 
are canonical. In order to make this argument valid, we must 
take as our medium this proposition : whatsoever these councils and 
these fathers determine is to be received without dispute. We may 
then add to it, But these councils and these fathers receive these 
books as canonical ; therefore these books are truly canonical and 

[4 Mansi, Collect. Concil. Tom. m. p. 891.] 
[ 5 Vide infra, or in Mansi, T. vm. p. 146.] 


divine : otherwise there will be no consequence in the reasoning. 
Now let us answer somewhat more clearly and distinctly. 

In the first place, we deny the major proposition of this syl 
logism. We must not concede that whatever those councils 
determine, and whatever those fathers affirm, is always true: for it 
is the special prerogative of scripture, that it never errs. There 
fore, it is manifest that nothing can be concluded from these testi 
monies which hath the force of a certain and necessary argument. 

In the second place, the council of Florence was held one hun 
dred and fifty years ago, and the council of Trent in our own times, 
and this latter for the express purpose and design of establishing all 
the errors of the popish church. These both were no legitimate 
councils of Christian men, but tyrannous conventicles of antichrist, 
held for the object of opposing the truth of the gospel. How ge 
neral that of Trent was, in its fourth session, may be appreciated 
from the number of the bishops who were present in that session. 
The legates, cardinals, archbishops, and bishops, who were then 
present, and who published this decree concerning the number of 
the canonical books, made in all about fifty ; and those, almost to 
a man, Italians and Spaniards. Where the attendance was so thin, 
it was impossible that any general council could be held. Yet Ala- 
nus Copus (in Dialog. Quint, c. 16.) says, that there were fewer 
bishops in many famous councils than at Trent 1 . I allow this to be 
true of provincial synods ; but no cecumenic council can be named, 
in which there was such a paucity and penury of prelates. These 
two councils, therefore, are to be wholly set aside from the dispute. 

Thirdly, the council of Carthage was merely provincial and 
composed of a few bishops ; and therefore hath no authority suf 
ficiently strong and clear for confirming the point in question. 
Besides, our adversaries themselves do not receive all the decrees 
of this council. For the papists vehemently and contemptuously 
blame the injunction most solemnly expressed in can. 26 2 , that 
" the bishop of the chief see shall not be called high priest, or chief 
of the priests, or by any such title." They cannot then bind us 
by an authority to which they refuse to be tied themselves. 

But, they say, this Carthaginian synod was approved by the 

[ J Sed millam isti habent causam paucitatem istam contemnendi, cum 
rariore numero multa prseclara concilia sint habita. Alan. Cop. Dialogi vi. 
Dial. v. c. 16. p. 487. Antv. 1573.] 

[ 2 Ne primes sedis episcopus appelletur Summus Sacerdos, aut Princeps 
sacerdotum, aut ejusmodi aliquid. Labb. Concil. T. n. p. 1176.] 


Trullan council of Constantinople, which was universal. Be it so. 
But, if this decree of the number of the canonical books was legi 
timately approved, then that also concerning the title of high priest 
was confirmed by the same sanction, which yet they will by no 
means concede. How, then, will they divide these things ? I ac 
knowledge, indeed, that this Trullan synod 3 was ecumenical. But 
the papists themselves doubt what should be determined of the 
authority of the canons which are attributed to this council. Pig- 
hius, in a treatise which he wrote upon this subject, calls the acts 
of this council spurious, and by no means genuine ; which he seeks 
to prove by some arguments. Melchior Canus too (Lib. v. cap. ult.) 
declares that the canons of that council have no ecclesiastical au 
thority : which is also the opinion of others. For there are some 
things in those canons which the papists can by no means approve ; 
namely, that the bishop of Constantinople is equalled with the 
Roman, can. 36 ; that priests and deacons are not to be separated 
from their wives, can. 13 ; that the law of fasting is imposed on 
the Roman church, can. 55 ; and others of the same kind. There 
is one rule, also, which truth itself disapproves ; that which forbids 
the eating of blood and things strangled, can. 67. It is, besides, 
a strong objection to the credit and authority of these canons, that 
eighty-five canons of the apostles are approved and received in 
them, can. 2. For pope Gelasius (in Gratian, Dist. 15. C. 
Romana Ecclesia) declares the book of the apostolic canons apo 
cryphal 4 . And Gratian (Dist. 16 5 ) says, that there are only fifty 

[ 3 Called Quini-secct from serving as a kind of supplement to the fifth and 
sixth general councils, with the latter of which it is, as here by Whitaker, 
commonly confounded. It was held in 691, and its claims to the character 
of an oacumenical Synod are generally denied by the Romanists; though 
principally, as it would appear, because its canons are repugnant to their 
system. See the article in Cave s Historia Literaria, Concil. Constant, iv. 
anno 691.] 

[ 4 Liber Canonum Apostolorum apocryphus : which clause is wanting in 
Justellus and two other MSS. The genuineness of this decree, which has 
been strongly impeached, is very learnedly defended by Mr Gibbings, in his 
Roman Forgeries, p. 93, et seq. To his authorities from Isidore of Seville 
(p. 94) he may add another produced by Hody, p. 653, col. 70.] 

[ 5 Isidorus scribit dicens, canones qui dicuntur apostolorum, seu quia eos- 
dem nee sedes apostolica recepit, nee sancti Patres illis assensum prsebue- 
runt, pro eo quod ab hsereticis sub nomine apostolorum compositi dignos- 

cuntur, quamvis in eis utilia inveniantur, tamen eorum gesta inter 

apocrypha deputata. Dist. xvi. c. 1.] 


canons of the apostles, and they apocryphal, upon the authority of 
Isidore, who hath related that they were composed by heretics 
under the name of the apostles. But this synod receives and con 
firms eighty-five canons of the apostles ; whereas pope Zephyrinus, 
who was five hundred years older than that synod, recognises, as 
appears in Gratian 1 , no more than sixty. Pope Leo IX 2 ., who 
was three hundred and fifty years later than the synod, receives 
the same number exactly, as Gratian writes in the place just cited. 
The thing itself, indeed, shews that the canons ascribed to the 
apostles are spurious. For in the last canon the gospel of John is 
enumerated amongst the scriptures of the new Testament ; which 
all agree to have been written when all or most of the apostles 
were dead. Yet they affirm that these canons were not collected by 
others, but published by the assembled apostles themselves. Thus 
Peiresius determines in the third part of his book concerning tra 
ditions 3 ; and so others. For, can. 28, Peter himself says, "Let 
him be removed from communion, as Simon Magus was by me 
Peter 4 ." If this canon, therefore, be true, Peter was present at the 
framing of it. But how could Peter, who was put to death in the 
time of Nero, have seen the gospel of John, which was first written 
and published in the time of Domitian? For the figment which 
some pretend, that Peter and the rest foresaw that gospel which 
John was afterward to write, is merely ridiculous. So in the last 
chapter all the apostles are made to speak, and the phrase occurs 
"the Acts of us the Apostles 5 ." 

It is no less easy to refute the answer which others make, that 
Clemens published these apostolic canons. For how could Clemens, 

[i Ibid, c. 2.] 

[ 2 Ibid, c. 3. The words are really Cardinal Humbert s, taken from his 
Reply to Nicetas. See Canisius, Antiq. Lect. T. vi. p. 181. Gratian takes 
the liberty of attributing them to Leo, on the principle, that the words of the 
Legate are the words of his employer.] 

[ 3 Peiresius Aiala, De Divinis, Apostolicis, atque ecclesiasticis Traditio- 
nibus. Paris. 1550.] 

[ 4 KK07VTa6(t TravTaTTCKTi KOI rfjs Koivwicts, cos Sijucoz/ 6 Mayo? VTT [e/zoC] 
Ilerpov. It is numbered 29 by Beveridge, and 30 by Whiston. The word in 
brackets is omitted by Dionysius Exiguus, for obvious reasons.] 

[ 5 /cat at TTpdgeis rj/jiajv rwv aTroo-rdXcov. Beveridge here pronounces the 
word rj[j.5)v to be an interpolation; but, as it seems, without any sufficient 
grounds for such an opinion.] 


whom Damasus 6 and Onuphrius 7 testify to have died in the time 
of Vespasian, have seen the gospel of John, which he wrote after 
his return from Patmos, during the reign of Trajan ? For almost 
all authors say very plainly, that the gospel was written by John 
after his exile. So Dorotheus in the Life of John, the Prologue to 
John, Simeon Metaphrastes, Isidorus in his book of the parts of the 
new Testament, Gregory of Tours (Glor. Plurim. Mart. c. 30.), 
Huimo (Lib. in. de rerum Christianarum Memorabil.), Alcuin upon 
John, and innumerable other writers of great authority. 

But the matter is clear enough of itself. For these canons of 
the apostles approve the constitutions of Clement and his two 
epistles. Yet the council of Constantinople, which hath received 
the canons of the apostles, condemns the constitutions of Clemens 8 , 
as, indeed, many others do also ; concerning which book we shall 
speak hereafter. Besides, these canons of the apostles damage the 
papal cause : for they set down three books of Maccabees 9 , and 
omit Tobit and Judith 10 , and direct young persons to be instructed 
in the Wisdom of Sirach 11 , and make no mention of the Wisdom of 
Solomon. If these are the true and genuine canons of the apostles, 
then the papists are refuted in their opinion of the number of the 
canonical books of the old and new Testaments by the authority of 
the canons of the apostles. If they be not, as it is plain they are 
not, then the synod of Constantinople erred, when it approved them 
as apostolical. Yet these men deny that a general council can err 
in its decrees respecting matters of faith. Let the papists see how 
they will answer this. Certainly this Trullan synod approved the 
canons of the council of Carthage no otherwise than it approved the 
canons of the apostles. But it is manifest, and the papists themselves 
will not deny, that the canons of the apostles are not to be ap 
proved. Hence we may judge what force and authority is to be 

[ 6 i. e. The Liber Pontificals, which goes under his name : see the article 
Damasus (anno 366) in Cave s H. L. and Pearson, de success, prim. Episc. 
Rom. Diss. ir. c. 4. 4 6.] 

(7 Annotat. in Platinam. p. 13. Colon. lib. 1600.] 

[ 8 Canon, n. Beveridge, Pandectse, Can. i. 158.] 

[9 MctKKa/3cuW Tpia. C. 85. But Cosin (pp. 30 l) endeavours to shew that 
the canon in its original state made no mention of any books of Maccabees. 
Cf. Gibbing s Roman Forgeries, p. 114.] 

[ 10 Cotelerius, however, found one MS. with the clause lov&eitf /, which, 
of course, he was glad enough to have any authority for inserting.] 

[ u pavdaveiv vp-wv TOVS vcovs rr^v (rcxfiiav TOV 7rc\vfj,a6ovs 2ipa^. Can. LXXXV.] 


allowed to the canons of this council of Constantinople ; and what 
sort of persons the papists are to deal with, who both deny that 
these canons have any legitimate authority, and yet confirm the 
sentence of the council of Carthage by the authority of these very 
canons. For so Canus (Lib. n. cap. 9) proves that the authority 
of the council of Carthage, in enumerating these books, is not to be 
despised, because it was approved by the general Trullan synod ; 
yet the same man elsewhere (Lib. v. cap. 6. ad argument. 6.) 
makes light of the authority of these canons, and brings many 
arguments to break it down. 

Fourthly, Gelasius with his council of seventy bishops recites 
but one book of Maccabees 1 , and one of Esdras. Thus he rejected 
the second book of Maccabees, which is apocryphal, and Nehemiah, 
which is truly canonical. Isidore, too 2 , confesses that there are 
but two and twenty books found in the Hebrew canon : and that 
their canon is the true one will be proved hereafter. 

Lastly, before they can press us with the authority of councils, 
they should themselves determine whether it is at all in the power 
of any council to determine what book is to be received as canoni 
cal. For this is doubted amongst the papists, as Canus confesses, 
Lib. ii. c. 8. 

Let us come now to the minor premiss of the proposed syl 
logism. We allow that the council of Carthage, and Gelasius 
with his seventy bishops, and Innocent, and Augustine, and Isi 
dore call these books canonical. But the question is, in what 
sense they called them canonical. Now, we deny that their mean 
ing was to make these books, of which we now speak, of equal autho 
rity with those which are canonical in the strict sense ; and the 
truth of this we will prove from antiquity, from Augustine, and 
from the papists themselves. 

For, in the first place, if it had been decreed by any public 
judgment of the whole Church, or defined in a general council, 
that these books were to be referred to the true and genuine 
canon of the sacred books, then those who lived in the Church 
after the passing of that sentence and law would by no means have 
dissented from it, or determined otherwise. But they did dissent, 
and that in great numbers ; and amongst them some of those 
whom the Church of Rome acknowledges as her own children. 

[! In Dominica prima mensis Septembris ponunt librum Machabseorum : 
where, however, Ivo reads libros. Decret, P. I. Dist. xv. c. 3.] 
[ 2 Offic. i. 12.] 


Therefore, there was no such judgment of the Church publicly 

Secondly, Augustine, in that same place, plainly indicates that 
he did not consider those books of equal authority with the rest. 
For he distinguishes all the books into two classes ; some which 
were received by all the churches, and some which were not. 
Then he lays down and prescribes two rules : one, that the 
books which all the churches receive should be preferred to those 
which some do not receive ; the other, that those books which 
are received by the greater and more noble churches should be pre 
ferred to those which are taken into the canon by churches fewer 
in number and of less authority. It will be best to listen to Augus 
tine himself, whose words are these (Lib. 11. c. 8. de Doct. 
Christ.) 3 : "Now, with respect to the canonical scriptures, let him 
follow the authority of the greater number of catholic churches ; 
amongst which those indeed are to be found which merited to pos 
sess tne chairs of the apostles, and to receive epistles from them. 
He will hold this, therefore, as a rule in dealing with the canonical 
scriptures, to prefer those which are received by all catholic churches 
to those which only some receive. But, with respect to those 
which are not received by all, he will prefer such as the more 
and more dignified churches receive, to such as are held by fewer 
churches, or churches of less authority." Then follows immedi 
ately, " Now the whole canon of scripture, in which we say that 
this consideration hath place," &c. 

Hence, then, I draw an easy and ready answer. We, with 
Jerome and many other fathers, deny these books to be canonical. 
Augustine, with some others, calls them canonical. Do, then, these 
fathers differ so widely in opinion ? By no means. For Jerome 
takes this word "canonical" in one sense, while Augustine, Innocent, 
and the fathers of Carthage understand it in another. Jerome calls 
only those books canonical, which the church always held for 

[ 3 In canonicis autem scripturis ecclesiarum catholicarum quam pluri- 
mura auctoritatem sequatur ; inter quas sane illse sint, quse apostolicas sedes 
habere et epistolas accipere meruerunt. Tenebit igitur hunc modum in 
scripturis canonicis, ut eas, quse ab omnibus accipiuntur ecclesiis catholicis, 
preeponat eis quas quaedam non accipiunt ; in eis vero quse non accipiuntur 
ab omnibus, prseponat eas quas plures gravioresque accipiunt eis quas pau- 

ciores minorisque auctoritatis ecclesise tenent Totus autem canon 

scripturarum, in quo istam considerationem versandam dicimus, &c. Aug. 
Opp. T. in. c. 47, 48. A. B.] 


canonical ; the rest he banishes from the canon, denies to be ca 
nonical, and calls apocryphal. But Augustine calls those canon 
ical which, although they had not the same perfect and certain 
authority as the rest, were wont to be read in the church for the 
edification of the people. Augustine, therefore, takes this name 
in a larger sense than Jerome. But, that Augustine was not so 
minded as to judge the authority of all these books to be equal, is 
manifest from the circumstance that he admonishes the student of 
theology to place a certain difference between the several books, 
to distinguish them into classes, and to prefer some to others. If 
his judgment of them all was the same, as the papists contend, 
such an admonition and direction must appear entirely superflu 
ous. Would Augustine, if he held all the books to have an equal 
right to canonicity, have made such a distribution of the books? 
Would he have preferred some to others ? Would he not have 
said that they were all to be received alike ? But now, Augustine 
does prefer some to others, and prescribes to all such a r\de for 
judging as we have seen. Therefore Augustine did not think that 
they were all of the same account, credit, and authority ; and, con 
sequently, is in open opposition to the papists. All this is manifest. 
It makes to the same purpose, that this same Augustine (de Civit. 
Dei, Lib. xvn. c. 20.) concedes, that less reliance should be placed 
upon whatever is not found in the canon of the Jews 1 . Whence it 
may be collected that, when Augustine observed that some books 
were not received by all, or the greatest and most noble churches, 
his remark is to be understood of those books which are not con 
tained in the Hebrew canon : and such are those which our churches 
exclude from the sacred canon. 

Let it be noted too, that in the council of Carthage, and in the 
epistle of pope Innocent, five books of Solomon are enumerated ; 
whereas it is certain that only three are Solomon s. So, indeed, 
Augustine himself once thought that the book of Wisdom and 
Ecclesiasticus were Solomon s, though he afterwards changed (but 
without correcting) that opinion. For in the same place of his 
City of God he thus speaks of those books : " Learned men have 
no doubt that they are not Solomon s 2 ." This was one error in 
Augustine. Another, and no less one, was supposing that the 
book of Wisdom was written by Jesus the son of Sirach (de 

[ l Sed adversus contradictores non tanta firmitate proferuntur quse 
scrip ta non sunt in canone Judseorum. Aug. Opp. T. vii. 766. A.] 
[ 2 Non autem esse ipsius, non dubitant doctiores. Ubi supra, 765.] 


Doct. Christ. Lib. n. c. 8.) ; which error he retracts, Retract. Lib. 
ii. c. 4. 3 Yet he allegeth an excuse, which is neither unhandsome 
nor trifling, for attributing five books to Solomon ; that " these 
books may be all called Solomon s, from a certain likeness which 
they bear." Hence, however, it appears that Augustine was in 
a great mistake when he thought, first, that these two books were 
written by Solomon, and then, that they were written by Jesus 
the son of Sirach. Indeed, Augustine himself testifies that these 
books were by no means received in all churches (De Civit. Dei. 
Lib. xvii. c. 20.) ; where he says that these books were especially 
received as authoritative 4 by the Western church. To this Wes 
tern church Augustine and Innocent belonged. For the oriental 
church never allowed to these books such great authority. But 
the mistake of counting Wisdom and Ecclesiasticus amongst the 
books of Solomon, although it is a very gross one, was yet, as 
we read, entertained and received by many. For pope Mar- 
cellinus, in an epistle to Solomon, adduces a testimony from Ec 
clesiasticus, as from Solomon ; and likewise pope Sixtus II. in 
an epistle to Gratus : which shews sufficiently that these persons 
must have thought that Solomon was the author of this book. I 
know, indeed, that these epistles were not really written by Mar- 
cellinus or Sixtus, but are falsely attributed to them : yet still, 
by whomsoever written, they indicate that this opinion was a com 
mon error. 

Thirdly, the papists themselves understand and interpret 
Augustine and the rest in the same manner as we do. For so 
many persons after Augustine and after those councils would 
never have denied these books to be canonical, if they had not 
perceived the reasonableness of this interpretation. If then they 
blame our judgment, let them at least lend some credit to their 
own companions and masters. I will bring forward no man of 
light esteem, no mean or obscure doctor, but a distinguished car 
dinal, that special pillar of the popish church, Cajetan, who as 
suredly excelled all our Jesuits in judgment, erudition, and 

[3 In secundo sane libro (de Doc. Christ.) de auctore libri, quern plures 
vocant Sapientiam Salomonis, quod etiam ipsum, sicut Ecclesiasticum, Jesus 
Sirach scripserit, non ita constare sicut a me dictum est postea didici, et 
omnino probabilius comperi non esse hunc ejus libri auctorem. Ib. T. i. 
86, 87. D. A.] 

[ 4 Eos tamen in auctoritatem niaxime occidentalis antiquitus recepit ec- 
clesia. Tit supra, 765.] 


authority. I will recite his words, because they are express and 
should always be in remembrance. Thus, therefore, writes Caje- 
tan at the end of his commentary upon the History of the old 
Testament : " Here," says he, " we close our commentaries on the 
historical books of the old Testament. For the rest (that is, 
Judith, Tobit, and the books of Maccabees) are counted by St 
Jerome out of the canonical books, and are placed amongst the 
Apocrypha, along with Wisdom and Ecclesiasticus, as is plain from 
the Prologus Galeatus. Nor be thou disturbed, like a raw scholar, 
if thou shouldest find any where, either in the sacred councils or 
the sacred doctors, these books reckoned as canonical. For 
the words as well of councils as of doctors are to be reduced to 
the correction of Jerome. Now, according to his judgment, in the 
epistle to the bishops Chromatius and Heliodorus, these books (and 
any other like books in the canon of the bible) are not canonical, 
that is, not in the nature of a rule for confirming matters of 
faith. Yet, they may be called canonical, that is, in the nature 
of a rule for the edification of the faithful, as being received and 
authorised in the canon of the bible for that purpose. By the 
help of this distinction thou mayest see thy way clearly through 
that which Augustine says, and what is written in the provincial 
council of Carthage 1 ." Thus far Cajetan ; in whose words we 
should remark two things. First, that all the statements of coun 
cils and doctors are to be subjected to the correction of Jerome. 
But Jerome always placed these books in the apocrypha. Secondly, 
that they are called canonical by some councils and Fathers, and 
customarily received in the canon of the bible, because they pro 
pose a certain rule of morals. There are, therefore, two kinds 

[! Hoc in loco terminamus commentaria librorum historialium veteris 
Testament!. Nam reliqui (videlicet Judith, Tobise, et Machabeeorum libri) a 
Divo Hieronymo extra Canonicos libros supputantur, et inter Apocrypha 
locantur cum Sapientia et Ecclesiastico, ut patet in prologo Galeato. Nee 
turberis iiovitie, si alicubi reperies libros istos inter canonicos supputari, vel 
in sacris Conciliis vel in sacris Doctoribus. Nam ad Hieronymi limam redu- 
cenda sunt tarn verba Conciliorum quam Doctorum, et juxta illius sententiam 
ad Chromatium et Heliodorum episcopos libri isti (et si qui alii sunt in Ca- 
none Biblise similes) non sunt canonici, id est, non sunt regulares ad firman- 
dum ea quse sunt fidei : possunt tamen dici canonici, id est regulares ad edi- 
ficationem fidelium, utpote in Canone Biblise ad hoc recepti et auctorati. 
Cum hac distinctione discernere poteris dicta Augustini, et scripta in Pro 
vincial! Concilio Carthaginensi. In ult. C. Esther, ad fin.] 


of canonical books : for some contain the rule both of morals 
and of faith ; and these are, and are called, truly and properly 
canonical : from others no rule, but only of morals, should be 
sought. And these, although they are improperly called canonical, 
are in truth apocryphal, because weak and unfit for the confirma 
tion of faith. We may use, if we please, the same distinction 
which I perceive some papists themselves to have used, as Sixtus 
Senensis (Bibliothec, Lib. i.), and Stapleton (Princip. Fid. Doctrin. 
Lib. ix. c. 6), who call some books Proto-canonical, and others 
Deutero-canonical. The proto-canonical are those which are counted 
in the legitimate and genuine canon, i. e. of the Hebrews. These 
Jerome s accurate judgment hath approved ; these our churches 
acknowledge as truly canonical. The Deutero-canonical are they 
which, although they be sometimes called canonical in the sense 
just now explained, are yet in reality apocryphal, because they do 
not contain the combined rule of faith and morals 2 . The papists 
are greatly incensed against their partner Cajetan, on account of 
this most solid sentence ; and some even vituperate him. Canus 
says, that he was deceived by the novelties of Erasmus. Let us 
leave them to fight with their own men. This is certain, that 
there never was a papist of more learning and authority than 
Cajetan, whom the pope sent into Germany to oppose Luther. This 
testimony should be a weighty one against them. Let them shake 
it off as they best can : and yet they never can shake it off, since 
it is confirmed by solid reason. 

Thus we have seen how weak their argument is. They have none 
better : for they have none other. Now, since we have answered 
them, we will proceed to the confirmation of our own cause. 



I FORM the first argument thus : These books, concerning which 
we contend, were not written by prophets : therefore they are 
not canonical. The entire syllogism is this. All canonical books 
of the old Testament were written by prophets : none of these 

[ 2 A difference of authority is owned also by Lamy. App. Bibl. L. n. c. 5. 
p. 333. Lugd. 1723 ; and Jahn, Einleitung ind. A. T. Vol. I. p. 141.] 



books was written by any prophet : therefore none of these books 
is canonical. The parts of this syllogism must be confirmed. 

The major rests upon plain testimonies of scripture. Peter calls 
the scripture of the old Testament, "The prophetic word," 2 Pet. i. 19, 
(for it is evident from Luke iii. 4, that Xo yos means scripture,) 
and " prophecy," ibid. ver. 20. Paul calls it, " the scriptures of 
the prophets." Rom. xvi. 26. Zacharias the priest says, " As he 
spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since 
the world began." Luke i. 70. Where he means that God had 
spoken in the prophetic scriptures. So Abraham says to the 
luxurious man, " They have Moses and the prophets," that is, the 
books of scripture. Luke xviii. 39. And elsewhere Luke says : 
" Beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto 
them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself." Luke 
xxiv. 27 ; so Rom. i. 2. Here we see that all the scriptures are 
found in the books of Moses and the prophets. The apostle to 
the Hebrews says : " God spake in divers manners by the pro 
phets." Heb. i. 1. Therefore the prophets were all those by whom 
God spake to His people. And to this refers also the assertion of 
the apostle, that the Church is built " upon the foundation of the 
apostlos and prophets." Eph. ii. 20. This foundation denotes the 
doctrine of the scriptures, promulgated by the prophets and apos 
tles. Christ says : " All things must be fulfilled which are written 
in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, con 
cerning me :" and then follows immediately, " Then opened he 
their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures." 
Luke xxiv. 44, 45. Paul asks king Agrippa, " Believest thou the 
prophets?" that is, the scriptures. Acts xxvi. 27. And when 
he dealt with the Jews at Rome, he tried to convince them " out 
of the law of Moses and the prophets." Acts xxviii. 23. 

From these testimonies we collect that the assertion in the 
major is most true ; that the whole scripture of the old Testa 
ment was written and promulgated by prophets. And there are 
many other similar passages from which it may be concluded, that 
there is no part of the old Testament which did not proceed from 
some prophet. But we must remark, that the entire old canonical 
scripture is sometimes signified by the name of the prophets, some 
times of Moses and the prophets, sometimes of Moses, the prophets, 
and the Psalms. So Augustine, in his discourse against Cresconius 
the grammarian : " Not without cause was the canon of the church 
framed with so salutary a vigilance, that certain books of the pro- 


phots and apostles should belong to it 1 ." Lib. u. cap. 31. And in 
another place : " Let them shew us their church, not in the rumours 
of the Africans, but in the injunction of the law, in the predictions 
of the prophets, in the songs of the Psalms ; that is, in all the 
canonical authorities of the sacred books 2 ." De Unit. Ecclcs. c. 16. 
And elsewhere : " Read this in the law, in the prophets, in the 
Psalms 3 ." We have said enough in confirmation of the major; let 
us now proceed to the minor. 

That these books, against which we are disputing, were not 
written, or set forth to the church, by prophets, is exceedingly 
clear and certain. For, in the first place, all confess that Malaelii 
was the last prophet of the Jews, between whom and John the 
Baptist no prophet whatever intervened. But most of the authors 
of these books undoubtedly lived after Malachi. This is manifest 
in the case of the writers of Ecclesiasticus and the Maccabees ; and 
even our adversaries themselves are not able to deny it. Besides, 
those books were not written in the prophetic tongue, which was 
the language of Canaan and the proper language of the church. 
But if prophets, who were the teachers and masters of the Israel- 
itish church, had written those books, they would have used, in 
writing them, their native and prophetic language, not a language 
foreign and unknown to the church ; which no right-minded person 
will deny. Now that most of them were written not in Hebrew 
but in Greek, the Fathers affirm, and the papists concede, and the 
thing itself proves fully : concerning the rest, we shall see in the 
sequel. Finally, if these books had been written by prophets, then 
Christ would have used them as his witnesses. But neither Christ 
nor his apostles ever made any use of their testimony. This is 
what Augustine says of the books of Maccabees : " The Jews do 
not esteem this scripture as the Law and the Prophets, to which the 
Lord bears testimony as his witnesses 4 ." (Contra Gaudent. Epist. 

[ l Neque enim sine causa tarn salubri vigilantia canon ecclesiasticus con- 
stitutus est, ad quern certi prophetarum et apostolorum libri pertineant. 
Aug. Opp. T. ix. 668, 669. D. A.] 

[ 2 Ecclesiam suam demonstrent, si possunt, non in sermonibus et rumori- 
bus Afrorum, non in conciliis episcoporum suorum, . . . sed in prsescripto 
Legis, in Prophetarum prsedictis, in Psalmorum cantibus . . . hoc est, in omni 
bus canonicis sanctorum librorum auctoritatibus. Ibid. 585. A.] 

[ 3 Lege hoc mini de Propheta, lege de Psalmo, recita de Lege. August. 
de Pastoribus, c. 14.] 

[ 4 Et hanc quidem scripturam, quse appellatur Machabseorum, non habent 

4 2 


Lib. IT. cap. 23.) Christ bears no testimony to these books as his 
witnesses. Therefore they are not sufficient or fully credible wit 
nesses of Christ. But this they would be if they were prophetic. 
For all the canonical and prophetic scriptures testify of Christ ; 
and to them as his witnesses Christ bears distinguished testimony, 
when he says, " Search the scriptures," and when he cites so many 
testimonies from those books. So Jerome 1 : "We must have 
recourse to the Hebrews, from whose text both the Lord speaks, 
and his disciples choose their examples." But that these books 
are not prophetical, we shall hereafter prove still more clearly. 

The second argument. These books were not received by the 
church of the Israelites ; therefore they are not canonical. The syl 
logism may be framed thus : The ancient church of the Hebrews re 
ceived and approved all the books of the old Testament. That church 
did not receive these books ; therefore they are not canonical. 

The major proposition is certain, and may be easily demon 
strated. For, first, if that church had rejected a part of the Lord s 
Testament, especially so large a part, she would have been 
guilty of the highest crime and sacrilege, and would have been 
charged with it by Christ or his apostles. For, since the Jews 
were blamed for putting wrong senses upon the scripture, they 
would never have escaped still greater and sterner reprehension, if 
they had taken away the scripture ; forasmuch as it is much more 
wicked and impious to take away books of scripture than to inter 
pret them ill in certain passages. But neither Christ, nor his 
apostles, nor any others, ever accused the Jews of mutilating or 
tearing to pieces their canon of the sacred books. Nay, the an 
cient Israelitish church both received all the canonical books, and 
preserved them with the greatest care and faithfulness. On which 
point read what Josephus writes, in Eusebius, Lib. in. cap. 10 2 . 
This is also confirmed by the authority of scripture itself. For 
the apostle says, that to the Jews were committed and delivered in 
charge the oracles of God, that is, the scriptures. Rom. iii. 2. 
Whence we learn, that the excellent treasure of the sacred scripture 
was deposited by God with the church of the Jews, and by it 
received and guarded : which diligence and fidelity of the Jews, 

Judsei sicut Legem et Prophetas et Psalmos, quibus Dominus testimonium 
perhibet ut testibus suis (Lib. i. . 38.) Aug. Opp. T. ix. 1006. c.] 

[! Ad Hebrseos revertendum, unde et Dominus loquitur, et discipuli ex- 
empla prsesumunt. Prooem. in Paralip.J 

[ 2 Contra Apion. L. I. c. 8. Vide infra.] 


in preserving the sacred books, Augustine (Ep. 3, and 59.) and all 
the other Fathers celebrate. Besides, if so many canonical books 
had been (not only not received, but) rejected by the ancient 
church of the Jews, it would follow that many canonical books were 
never received by any church : for before Christ there was no 
other church but that of the Jews. If then we grant that that 
church, which was the whole and sole church at that particular 
time, could have rejected canonical books, then it is evident that 
the church may err, which the papists will not be willing to allow. 
Yet is it not a great error, not only not to acknowledge and receive 
sacred books, but to repudiate and eject them from the canon of 
the inspired writings ? But the whole Jewish church rejected these 
books : which was our assumption in the minor, and may be con 
firmed by the confession of all the fathers, and even of the papists 
themselves. For every one understands that these books were 
never received into the Hebrew canon. 

As to Bellarmine s pretence (Lib. i. cap. 10), that these books 
have the testimony of the apostolic church, and that the apostles 
declared these books canonical, whence does its truth appear ? The 
apostles never cite testimonies from these books, nor can anything 
be adduced to shew that any authority was attributed to them 
by the apostles. Indeed when Cajetan affirmed, in his commen 
tary on 1 Cor. xii., that only to be sacred and divine scripture 
which the apostles either wrote or approved, he was blamed by 
Catharinus (Annot. Lib. i.) on that account ; and Catharinus lays 
it down in that place, that the church receives certain books as 
canonical which certainly were neither written nor approved by the 
apostles. The allegation of Canus, that these books were neither 
received nor rejected 3 , is merely ridiculous. For, surely, if the 
Jews did not receive these books, what else was this but rejecting 
them utterly ? He who does not receive God rejects him : so 
not to receive the word of God, is to refuse and reject it. " He 
that is not with me is against me ; and he that gathereth not with 
me scattereth." Luke xi. 23. Besides, how could that church 
either receive or rather not reject books written in a foreign tongue ? 

The sum of both arguments is this : These books are not 
written by prophets, nor received by the Israelitish church. There 
fore they are not canonical. 

The third argument. Certain things may be found in these 

[ 3 Negamus hos libros a synagoga esse rejectos. Aliud est enim non reci- 
pere, aliud vero rejicere. Melch. Cani Loc. Theol. Lib. n. cap. xi. p. 45 a. 
Colon. Agrip. 1585.] 


books which prove them not to be canonical. This argument is 
very strong, as derived from the nature and genius of the books 
themselves : and the conclusion will appear with fuller evidence in 
the sequel of this discourse, when we come to the particular ex 
amination of the several books ; whence it will be sufficiently mani 
fest that none of those now called in question have any just claims 
to be considered as canonical. 




LASTLY, it is clear from the testimonies of councils, fathers and 
writers, that these .books deserve no place in the true canon of 
scripture. Which argument, though it be merely human, yet may 
have force against them who themselves use no other in this cause. 

The synod of Laodicea (c. 59 l ) forbids the reading of any 
non-canonical books in the church, and allows only " the canonical 
books of the old and new Testament" to be used for that purpose. 
Then those are enumerated as canonical, which our churches re 
ceive ; not Tobit, nor Judith, nor the rest. There is, indeed, a 
clear error in this council. For Baruch is coupled with Jeremiah, 
(which former perhaps they thought to be a part of the latter,) and 
the epistles of the prophet Jeremiah are mentioned 2 , whereas there 
is but one epistle of Jeremiah in the book of Baruch: unless, 
perhaps, there may here be a fault in the Greek book, since 
these words are omitted in the Latin. There is another error 
with respect to the Apocalypse, which these fathers have not 
placed in the catalogue of the books of the new Testament. And 
it is certain that many in the church doubted for a long time con 
cerning that book 3 . However, in the judgment of those fathers, 

[1 OTI ov Se7 i$ia)TiKovs tyaX/Jiovs \eyecrdat Iv rfj KK\r)(riq., ovde aKavovtcrra 
/SrSXict, aXXa p.6va TO. KavoviKa rfjs Kaivrjs KOI rraXcuas diadijiajs. Mansi, T. II. 
p. 574.] 

[ 2 lepe/Lita?, Bapoir^, dprjvoi KOI eVi<rroXcu. Can. 60. ibid.] 
[ 3 It is to be observed that Canon 60 professes only to give a list of those 
books oo-a Set dvayivwo-Kfo-QciL i. e. in the Church. Hence Cosin (Hist, of the 
Canon, p. 60.) supposes the Apocalypse to be left out, not as uncanonical, 
but us unfit for popular instruction on account of its mysterious obscurity ; 
for which reason, he observes, it is omitted likewise in the Calendar of Lessons 
read in the Church of England, though received in our Canon.] 


these books of the old Testament, Tobit, Judith, Ecclesiasticus, 
Wisdom, and the two books of Maccabees, are not canonical. We 
form the same judgment of those books. The papists object, that 
the canon of scripture was not then settled ; consequently, that 
they might leave these books out of the canon of scripture, but ive 
cannot claim a similar right after this canon of scripture hath been 
defined by the church. But this is too ridiculous. For who can, 
without great impudence, maintain that there was no certain canon 
even of the old Testament for four hundred years after Christ; 
until, forsooth, the time of the council of Carthage ? Was the 
church so long ignorant what books pertained unto the canon of 
scripture ? A pretence at once false and impious ! On the con 
trary, the fathers who lived before that council testify that they 
very well knew and understood what books were divine and canom% 
cal, as shall presently appear. Besides, that council of Carthage 
could not determine anything about the canon of scripture, so as 
to bind the whole church, since it was only a provincial one. 

But (it will be said) the universal Trullan synod determined 
that these books should be received into the canon, and denned 
this matter by its authority. If we ask, how we are to under 
stand that this is so ? they answer, from its approving the acts of 
the council of Carthage. But that is not enough to make this a 
clear case. For (besides that we have already sufficiently obviated 
the force of this argument), in the first place, the Trullan synod 
does, in the very same place and canon, approve also the acts of 
the council of Laodicea. If that canon, therefore, of the Trullan 
synod be genuine, the Laodicene and Carthaginian decrees con 
cerning the canonical books do not contradict each other. Conse 
quently, although these books be called in a certain sense canonical 
by the council of Carthage, yet they are in strictness uncano- 
nical, as they are pronounced to be by the council of Laodicea. 
But if the judgments of these councils be contradictory, the Trul 
lan synod failed in prudence when it approved the acts of both. 

Secondly, the Trullan synod was held six hundred years after 
Christ. Now, was the canon of scripture unknown, or uncertain, 
or unapproved for so many ages ? Who in his right senses would 
choose to affirm this ? 

Thirdly, the later church did not judge that the canon of 
scripture was in this way determined and denned by these councils ; 
which may easily be understood from the testimonies of those 
writers who flourished in the church after those councils, as you 
shall hear presently. First of all, therefore, I will adduce the 


testimonies of the ancient fathers, then of the later, from which 
the constant judgment of the church concerning these books may 
be recognised. And although it may be somewhat tedious to go 
through them all, yet this so great multitude of witnesses must needs 
possess the greater authority in proportion to their numbers. 

Melito of Sardis, as Eusebius tells us, (Lib. iv. cap. 26) testifies 
that he went into the East l , and learned with exact accuracy all the 
books of the old Testament. He, therefore, considered the matter 
by no means doubtful ; which would have been impossible without 
a fully ascertained knowledge of the canon. Now this Melito, who 
took so much pains in determining these books, recites precisely 
the same "books of the old Testament as we do, with the single ex 
ception of the book of Wisdom. There are some, indeed, who think 
that this Wisdom of Solomon, which Melito mentions, is the book 
of Proverbs itself: but I do not agree with them 2 , for no cause can 
be given why the same book should be twice named. But though 
he might have mistaken in one book, he could not have mistaken 
in all, especially when using such diligence as he professes himself 
to have used. The error arose from the circumstance, that this 
book w r as in the hands of many, and was more read and had in 
greater esteem than the rest. Indeed, I acknowledge that of all 
Apocryphal books most respect was always exhibited towards this 
one : -and this is the reason why Augustine seems to defend its 
authority 3 (Lib. de Pra3d. Sanct. c. 14); from which defence it is 
evident that this book was publicly read in the church, and that 
the church thought very honourably of its character. 

[! dv\6cov ovv ds rr)V dvaro\r)V . . . KOI aKpi/Scoy paOaiv ra TTJS TraXaias &ia- 
6r]K-r]s /3t/3Xia, K. r. A. p. 403. T. i. ed. Heinichen. Lips. 1827.] 

[ 2 The clause in question is Hapoipiai -q KOI 2o$m, or, according to Stephens, 
77 2o(ta ; and the question, whether we should not rather read r\ or rj. fj is 
the reading of six MSS. confirmed by Nicephorus and Rufinus (who trans 
lates quce et Sapientia), and adopted by Valesius. Stroth and Heinichen agree 
with Whitaker in preferring 77, in which I think them undoubtedly wrong, 
because when the title of a book is given in an index or catalogue, the article 
is hardly ever prefixed, and in this catalogue in particular never. In reply 
to Whitaker s objection, I suppose it is sufficient to say that the Book of 
Proverbs is twice named, because it had two names. " Certe," says Valesius, 
"veteres poene omnes proverbia Salomonis Sapientiam vocabant, intcrdum 
et Sapientiam panareton." Of. Euseb. H. E. iv. 22.] 

[ 3 Quse cum ita sint, non debuit repudiari sententia libri Sapientiec, qui 
meruit in ecclesia Christ! de gradu lectorum ecclesise Christi tarn longa an- 
nositate recitari ; et ab omnibus Christianis, ab episcopis usque ad extremes 
laicos fideles, poenitentes, catechumenos, cum veneratione divinee auctoritatis 
audiri. Aug. Opp. T. x. 1370. c.] 


Origen (in Eusebius, Lib. vi. c. 25) enumerates the same books 
as are acknowledged by our churches to be canonical, and says, 
that the testamentary books of the old Testament are two and 
twenty, according to the number of the Hebrew alphabet 4 . And 
many others after him have made the same remark. Now, if the 
canonical books agree in number with the Hebrew letters, as these 
fathers determine, then it is certain that no place is left in the 
sacred canon for those books concerning which we now dispute ; 
otherwise there would be more canonical books than Hebrew letters. 
But those books which we concede to be truly canonical correspond 
by a fixed proportion and number to the elements of the Hebrew 

Athanasius says, in his Synopsis : " Our whole scripture is 
divinely inspired, and hath books not infinite in number, but finite, 
and comprehended in a certain canon." There was, therefore, at 
that time a fixed canon of scripture. He subjoins: "Now these arc 
the books of the old Testament." Then he enumerates ours, and 
no others, and concludes : " The canonical books of the old testa 
ment are two and twenty, equal in number to the Hebrew letters." 
But, in the meanwhile, what did he determine concerning the rest ? 
Why, he plainly affirms them to be uncanonical. For thus he 
proceeds : " But, besides these, there are. also other non-canonical 
books of the old Testament, which are only read to the catechu 
mens." Then he names the Wisdom of Solomon, the Wisdom of 
Sirach, the fragments of Esther, Judith, Tobit. " These," says he, 
"are the non-canonical books of the old Testament 5 ." For Athana 
sius makes no account of the books of Maccabees. He does not 
mention Esther in the catalogue, but afterwards remarks, that this 
book belongs to another volume ; perhaps to Ezra, by whom 
Isidore and others say that book was written. And some fathers, 
when enumerating the books of scripture, do not mention this by 
name, either because they thought it part of some other book, or 
esteemed it apocryphal on account of those apocryphal additions of 
certain chapters. 

[ 4 OVK ayvoTjreov civat ras evdiadrjKovs /3t/3Xov, cos 1 c E/3paioi 
dvo KOI e iKocri, ocroy 6 dpidp-bs T(OV Trap avrols (Troi^ei(ov eoriV.J 

[ 5 Trao-a ypcxprj T)/ZCOJ/ Xptortoi/cov QeoTTvevcrTos eVrii/, OVK ao/nora de, aXXa 
GoptoyAeVa KOI KeKavovicr/Jieva e^et ra /3t/3Xia. Kcu earn rrjs /LteV rraXaias 
Tavra ...... CKTOS 8e TovToov 6icri TraXiv ercpa /3i/3Xia rfjs avTTJs 7ra\aias 

, ov Kavovi^o/jLeva fj,ev, avayivaxTKo^fva ds p.6vov rots Kar^xovjjievots .... 

KCU TO. /z?) Kavovi^6[j.eva. Athanas. Opp. ii. 126, sqq. ed. Bened. The 
Synopsis is the work of an uncertain author, falsely ascribed to Athanasius.] 


Hilary, bishop of Poitiers, speaks thus in the Prologue to his 
Exposition of the Psalms : " The law of the old Testament is con 
sidered as divided into twenty-two books, so as to correspond with 
the number of the letters 1 ." By the term "the Law" he denotes 
the whole scripture of the old Testament. 

JSTazianzen, in his verses on the genuine books of sacred scrip 
ture, fixes the same number of the books of the old Testament. 
These are the lines of Nazianzen, in which he declares that he 
counts twenty-two books in the canon, that is, so many in number 
as the Hebrew letters : 

Apxaiovs ptv tfyta Svo KOL aKocrt /3i/3Xov, 
Tens re5z> c E/3pcuW ypa^ifj-acnv avrtOfrovs 2 . 

He omits mentioning Esther ; the reason of which we have before 

Cyril of Jerusalem, in his fourth catechetical discourse, hath 
written many prudent and pious directions upon this matter. " Do 
thou," says he, " learn carefully from the church what are the 
books of the old Testament. Head the divine scriptures, the two 
and twenty books 3 ." Thus he shews that there were no more than 
twenty-two divine books. Then he enumerates the same books as 
are received by us for canonical, save that he includes in that 
number the book of Baruch, because he took it (though wrongly, 
as we shall prove anon) for a part of the book of Jeremiah. Now 
if any shall affirm that nevertheless there are other canonical books 
besides these, Cyril will refute him with this splendid objurgation : 


(TKOTTOI, 01 T^S KK\rjcria? TrpocrTCLTai, o\ Tcifras TrapacovTcs. As 
if he had said, " Who art thou, that thou shouldest make these 
books canonical ? The apostles, the ancient bishops, the governors 
of the church, were much wiser than thou art, who have com 
mended these books alone to us as canonical, and no others." 
What now becomes of those who say, that these books were ap 
proved by the apostles and the apostolic churches ? 

Epiphanius (Hser. vui. contra Epicura3os 4 ) counts twenty-seven 

[! Lex veteris Testament! in viginti duos libros deputatur, ut cum litera- 
rum numero convenient. He adds, however: Quibusdam autem visum 
est, additis Tobia et Judith, viginti quatuor libros secundum numerum Grse- 
carum literarum connumerare.] 

[ 2 Carm. xxxm. L. 28. p. 98. T. n. Opp. Nazianz. Colon. 1690.] 
[ 3 QiXopadcos eTriyvcodi irapa rrjs KK\r)o-ias Troiai pev flcrLv al rfjs TraXaias dia- 
/3i/3Xot .... avayiva<TK ras dfias ypcxfras, ray ei /crxri Suo fti(3Xovs rfjs TraXaiay 

. Cyril. Hierosol. Catech. iv. 33. p. 67. ed. Tuttei.J 
Opp. i. p. 19. ed. Petavii.j 


books of the old Testament, which he says were delivered by God 
to the Jews ; or rather, as he subjoins, twenty-two : to? TOL irap 
avrdis (TTOiy^iia TWV EfipaiKWv ypa^^anov dpiO/mov/uevai. For 
so he determines that the genuine books of the old Testament are 
equal in number to the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. But some 
books (as Epiphanius says) are doubled. Hence arises that variety 
in the sum ; being counted when doubled, twenty-two, and, taking 
each book severally, twenty-seven. Then he adds, "There are 
also two other books which are doubtful, the Wisdom of Sirach 
and that of Solomon, besides some others which are apocryphal 5 ." 
He calls some dubious, some merely apocryphal. The same author 
writes, in his book of Weights and Measures 6 , that the Jews sent 
to king Ptolemy twenty-two books transcribed in golden letters, 
which he enumerates in a previous passage ; although Josephus, in 
the beginning of his Antiquities, relates that only the five books 
of Moses were sent 7 . In this place he writes thus of those two 
books, the Wisdom of Solomon and of Sirach, which he had in the 
former citation called dubious : " They are indeed useful books, 
but are not included in the canon, and were not deposited in the 
ark of the covenant 8 ." Which is as much as to say plainly, that 
they are not to be counted canonical. 

Ruffinus, in his Exposition of the Apostles 1 Creed, says, that 
he intends to designate the volumes of the old and new Testaments, 
which are believed to have been inspired by the Holy Ghost him 
self ; and then he enumerates our books in both Testaments, sub 
joining : " But it should be known that there are other books 
also, which were called by the ancients not canonical but ecclesiasti 
cal, the Wisdom of Solomon and of Sirach, the book of Tobit, Judith, 
Maccabees. These," says he, " they would have to be read in 
churches, but that nothing should be advanced from them for con 
firming the authority of faith 9 ." The papist Pamelius praises this 

[ 5 flcr\ de KOI oXXctt dvo /3i/3Xot Trap avrois Iv djj.(pi\KT(o, 77 crofpia rov 
/ecu 77 rov SoXo/LKyi/ro?, X M P^ LS aXXcoz/ rivatv /3t/3XtW evmroKpvcpwv. Ib. C.J 

[ 6 Opp. ii. p. 100. Do Pond, et Mens. cc. 22, 23.] 

(7 avra /Mora ra rov VOJJLOV Trapedoo-av ol irepcpdevres eVt rrjv f^rjyr^crLV ts 
Prooem. . 3, p. 3. ed. Havercamp.] 

P* v flo~i KOI w(f]\ifjLOL, dXX fls dpidfj,bv prjT&v OVK dvcXpepovTai, 
810 8e fv r<3 Aapcoz/ avfrc0T)(rav, ovre ev rfj rrjs diaQiJKrjs /a/3a>ra). Ib, p. 162. 
The passage is corrupt, and should probably be read dib ovde iv TJJ rrjs 
diadrjKrjs Kt/3cor<5 ro> Apo>i/ []^J^] avfTeOrjcravJ} 

[ 9 Sciendum tamen est, quod et alii libri sunt, qui non canonici, sed eccle- 
siastici a majoribua appellati sunt : ut est Sapientia Salomonis, et alia Sa- 


book, but blames this single passage in it; which yet did not deserve 
reprehension, since it is both true and accordant with innumerable 
judgments of the ancient fathers. He would not even have praised 
it, if he had not seen it praised by many, who yet are far from 
blaming that in it which he disapproves. That exposition was 
really made by Ruffinus, though it was attributed to Cyprian. 

I come now to Jerome, who most plainly of all rejects these 
books from the canon, and argues strenuously against their canoni 
cal authority, and shews himself a most vehement adversary of 
these books. It would be tedious to review all his testimonies. 
In the Prologus Galeatus to Paulinus, " As," says he, " there are 
two and twenty letters, so there are counted two and twenty 
books." Then he adds : " This Prologue to the scriptures may 
serve as a sort of helmed head-piece for all the books which we 
have translated from the Hebrew into Latin, to let us know that 
whatever is out of these is to be placed amongst the Apocrypha. 
Therefore the Wisdom of Solomon, and Jesus, and Judith, and 
Tobit, are not in the canon 1 ." Testimonies of the same sort occur 
everywhere in his books. 

Gregory the Great, in his Commentaries on Job (Lib. xix. 
cap. 16), expressly writes that the books of Maccabees are not 
canonical 2 ; and there is no doubt that he thought the same of 
the other books also. 

To these authorities of the ancient fathers, I will subjoin the 
testimony of Josephus, which exactly agrees with them, as it lies 
in his first book against Apion the grammarian, and is transcribed 
by Eusebius in the tenth chapter of the third book of his Eccle- 

pientia, quse dicitur Filii Sirach . . . Ejusdem ordinis est libellus Tobise et 
Judith et Maccabseorum libri. . . . Quse omnia legi quidem in ecclesiis volue- 
runt, non tamen proferri ad auctoritatem ex his fidei confirmandam. Ex- 
posit, in Symb. Apost. in Append, ad Cyprian, ed. Fell. p. 26.] 

[! Quomodo igitur xxu elementa sunt . . . ita xxn volumina supputantur. 
. . . Hie prologus scripturarum quasi galeatum principium omnibus libris, 
quos de Hebrseo vertimus in Latinum, convenire potest, ut scire valeamus, 
quicquid extra hos est inter Apocrypha esse ponendum. Igitur Sapientia 
quse vulgo Salomonis inscribitur, et Jesu filii Sirach liber, et Judith et 
Tobias et Pastor non sunt in canone. The prologues of Jerome, being to be 
found in every common copy of the Vulgate and in a thousand other shapes, 
are not generally referred to by the page in these notes.] 

[ 2 De qua re non inordinate agimus, si ex libris, licet non canonicis, tameri 
ad sedificationem ecclesiee editis, testmionium proferamus. p. 622. A. u. 
Paris. 1705.] 


siastieal History : " We have not innumerable books, inconsistent 
and conflicting with each other ; but two and twenty books alone, 
containing the series of our whole history, and justly deemed 
worthy of the highest credit. Of these, five are by Moses ; em 
bracing the laws, and delivering down a narrative from the origin 
of the human race until his own death; which is a period of nearly 
three thousand years. From the death of Moses to the reign of 
Artaxerxes, who succeeded Xerxes as king of Persia, the prophets 
after Moses have written accounts of the events of their own 
times in thirteen books. The remaining four contain hymns to 
God and moral admonitions to man. It is true, that from the time 
of Artaxerxes to our own particular accounts have been written of 
the various events in our history : but these latter have not been 
deemed worthy of the same credit, because the succession of the 
prophets has not been regularly and exactly maintained in that 
interval 3 ." 

Assuredly it is plain enough from this testimony of Josephus, 
what was the judgment of the Israelitish church concerning these 
books ; and the testimonies which have been alleged from so many 
fathers, distinguished both by antiquity and sanctity, evince with 
the highest certainty that the opinion of the Christian church also 
could not have been different. 

Hitherto, therefore, we have proved by the clearest testimonies 
of the fathers that these books, about which we contend, are not 
canonical, but apocryphal; for so they are expressly called. There 
fore these fathers plainly agree with us, and confirm our sentiments 
by their suffrages. 

But perhaps the papists may have an answer to allege suffi- 

[3 ov yap p,vpid8es /3t/3Auoi> etcrt Trap r}[uv, d(rv[j,(pcdi>a)V KOL fjia^op.cvcov dvo 
Se p.6va TTpbs rols tiKOfri, /3i/3Xta, TOV Travrbs e^oi/ra XP OI>OV rr)i> dvaypafprjv, TO, 
diKaioas 0eTa TreTTioref/zei/a. Kai rourooy TTCVTC p,ev ecrrt ra Moovcrecos , a TOVS re 
v6fj,ovs TTfpie^et, KOL TTJV rfjs avOpwTroyovias Trapddoariv p-^XP 1 T ^ s O.VTOV T\vrfjs. 
OVTOS 6 xpovos aTToXetTret rpi(rxtXiW okiyov eYtoi/. ATTO de rrjs Mowo-fws reAeu- 
rrjs ^XP L T V S Apraepou rov /xera Seprjv Hepcrcdv /3a<nXeW "PX 7 / 9 * A 167 "^ 
^Laivarjv 7rpo(^)^rai ra K.CLT avrovs TrpaxOtvTa (rvveypa^av Iv rpial KOI 8eKa /3i- 
/BAi ois 1 . At Se XoiTrai reVcrape? V/JLVOVS (Is TOV Qebv Kai rots dvdpa>7rois inro6iJKas 
TOV /3tou irepifxovo-iv. ATTO de Apra^ep^ov ^XP L T v Ka @ f]p- a s xp v v yeyparrrai 
[J.6V Ka<rra- TTIO-TCCOS Se oi>x 6/uotas ?;|i eorai rot s Trpo avr&v dia TO JJ.T] yeveo-Qai rrjv 

TUV TTpCXpTjTWV UKpL^fj StaSox^. A^Xo^ 5 fO-rlv %py(p 7To5ff 77jLt?ff rotff iSlOl? 

ypdp-fMaa-t TreTTicrrcuKa/zez/ TCHTOVTOV yap alavo? rjSrj Trapcox^Koro?, ovrf TtpocrBeival 
TIS ovdev, ovTf cicpeXetf aurajf, oi/re /zera^etwi TeTo\p.rjKV. K. r. X. Contra 
Apion. L. i. c. 8.J 


cient to shew that these testimonies avail us nothing. Indeed I will 
not dissemble their answer, nor conceal any thing from you that 1 
know. Well then, in order to break the force of these testimonies 
and overturn our argument, some of them bring two objections : 
the first, that these fathers spoke of the Jewish, not of the Christian 
canon : the second, that the canon was not yet fixed ; wherefore 
those fathers are not to be blamed for determining otherwise con 
cerning the canon than the church afterwards defined, while we, 
nevertheless, are precluded from a similar liberty. Let us briefly 
obviate both objections. 

First of all, these fathers whom I have cited do speak of the 
canon of Christians, as any one who looks at their words themselves 
will readily perceive. The synod of Laodicea prescribes what 
books should be read as canonical in the churches. Melito declares 
that he had taken pains to find out what books should be received ; 
and this he did surely not for the sake of the Jews, but for his 
own. Athanasius says that those books which he calls uncanonical 
were wont to be read only to the catechumens. Now the catechu 
mens were Christian catechumens. Cyril forbids the reading of 
those books which he calls apocryphal, and says that the apostles 
and old bishops and masters of the church had taken no other 
books into the canon than those which are received by us. Who 
does not see that he is speaking of the Christian canon ? Although 
perhaps Cyril was too vehement in forbidding these books to be 
even read : for the other fathers, although they determine them 
to be apocryphal, yet permit their perusal. Ruffinus says, that 
those only which our churches also receive were received into the 
canon by the ancients (who doubtless were Christians), but that the 
rest were called by those same ancients, not canonical, but eccle 
siastical. So Jerome, writing to Paulinus a Christian bishop, 
makes none others canonical than we do, and briefly describes the 
contents of these books, and of no others. Therefore he acknow 
ledged no other canon of the sacred books than we do now. In 
his preface to the books of Chronicles he writes in these plain 
words : " The church knows nothing of apocryphal writings ; we 
must therefore have recourse to the Hebrews, from whose text the 
Lord speaks, and his disciples choose their examples 1 ." " What is 
not extant with them is to be flung away from us 2 ," says Jerome, 

[* Apocrypha nescit ecclesia: ad Hebrseos igitur reyertendum, unde et 
Dominus loquitur et discipuli exempla prsesumunt.J 

[ 2 Quse non habentur apud illos, procul abjicienda sunt.j 


in his preface to Ezra and Nehemiah. And elsewhere, in his pre 
face to the books of Solomon, he hath these words : " As therefore 
the church, while it reads Judith and Tobit and the books of Mac 
cabees, yet receives them not amongst the canonical scriptures ; so 
she may read these two volumes also [the Wisdom of Solomon and 
Sirach] for the edification of the people, not for confirming the 
authority of articles of faith 3 ." Plainly Jerome speaks of the 
Christian church, and determines that the canon of the old Testa 
ment is no other with Christians than it was with the Hebrews. 
They are absurd, therefore, who imagine a double canon. Again, 
in his first book against the Pelagians, he blames a heretic for 
citing testimonies from the Apocrypha, when proposing to prove 
something about the kingdom of heaven. 

In the next place, whereas they say that the canon of scrip 
ture was not then fixed, it is but fair that they should speak out, 
and teach us when afterwards it was fixed. If it be said, in the 
council of Florence or of Trent, these are but modern ; and, I am 
very sure, they will not affirm that it was fixed so late. If in the 
council of Carthage, that council of Carthage was not general. If 
in the Trullan, those canons are censurable in many respects, even 
in the opinion of the papists themselves, as we have shewn clearly 
above. Will they concede then, either that there was no definite 
canon of scripture for six hundred years after Christ, or that these 
books were not received into the canon for so many ages ? This in 
deed would be sufficient to overturn the authority of the books. Let 
them answer, therefore, and mark the precise time, that we may 
understand when the canon of scripture was at length defined and 
described. If they can name any general council in which is extant 
the public judgment of the church concerning the canonical books, 
let them produce it. Except this Trullan council, they have ab 
solutely none at all. And this Trullan does not precisely affirm 
these books to be canonical, but only confirms the council of Car 
thage ; which is of no consequence, since it also confirms the council 
of Laodicea, and the papists themselves deny all credit to the 
Trullan canons. Thus they are left without defence on any side. 
However, that you may the better see how empty that is which 
they are wont to urge about the Trullan synod; I will now 
shew, by the most illustrious and certain testimonies of those men 

[ 3 Sicut ergo Judith et Tobise et Maehahseorum libros legit quidem ec- 
clesia, sed eos inter caiionicas scripturas non recipit ; sic et hsec duo volu- 
mina legat ad sedificationem plebis, non ad auctoritatem ecclesiasticorum 
dogmatum confirmandam.J 


who have governed and taught the church of Christ in more 
recent times, that since that council these books were nevertheless 
not held to be canonical in the church. 

Isidore, who lived almost in those very times, says (in Lib. de 
Offic.) that the old Testament was settled by Ezra in two and 
twenty books, " that the books in the law might correspond in 
number with the letters 1 . 1 John Damascene (Lib. iv. c. 18.) says : 
" It must be known that there are two and twenty books of the 
old Testament, according to the alphabet of the Hebrew language 2 ." 
Thus Damascene agrees with those ancient doctors concerning the 
number of the canonical books of the old Testament. The Wisdom 
of Solomon and Sirach he praises indeed, but puts them out of the 
canon : the rest he does not even mention. Yet he lived, as 
every one knows, after the Trullan Synod. So Nicephorus (apud 
Cyrum Prodromum in versibus) : 

rrjs fJ.v TraXaias eltriv cucocrt $vo. 

11 There are two and twenty books of the old Testament." Like 
wise Leontius determines, in his book of Sects (Act. 2), that there 
are no more canonical books of the old Testament than the twenty- 
two which our churches receive. Thus he speaks : " Of the old 
Testament there are twenty-two books." Then he goes through 
all the books of the old and new Testaments in order, and finally 
subjoins, " These are the books, old and new, which are esteemed 
canonical in the church 3 ." JRabanus Maurus (De Inst. Cler. c. 54) 
says, that the whole old Testament was distributed by Ezra into 
two and twenty books, " that there might be as many books in the 
law as there are letters 4 ." Radulphus (Lib. xiv. in Lev. c. 1.) : 
" Tobit, Judith, and the Maccabees, although they be read for 
instruction in the church, yet have they not authority 5 ." Therefore 
they are not canonical. Hugo S. Victoris (Prolog. Lib. i. de Sa- 
cram. c. 7) says, that " these books are read indeed, but not written 
in the body of the text or in the authoritative canon ; that is, such 
as the book of Tobit, Judith, Maccabees, the Wisdom of Solomon, 

[! Ut tot libri essent in lege, quot et literee habentur. Isid. de Eccl. Offic. 
Lib. i. c. 12.] 

[ 2 lo-reov (os iiKO(ri KOI Suo /3i/3Xoi fieri rfjs 7ra\aias diaOijKrjs Kara ra (TTOixe ia 
TTJS EfipctiSos cjxdvfjs.] 

[ 3 ravra <TTI ra KavovL^o^eva /3t/3Xta eV rfj e/c/cX^o-ta, KOI TraXaia KOL ve a.] 

[ 4 Ut tot libri essent in lege, quot habentur et literse. Rab. Maur. de 
Instit. Cleric. Lib. n. c. 54.] 

[ 5 Tobias, Judith et Machabseorum, quamyis ad instructionem ecclesise 
legantur, tamen non habent auctoritatem.] 


and Eeclesiasticus." Again, (Didascal. Lib. iv. c. 8) " As there 
are twenty-two alphabetic letters, by means of which we write in 
Hebrew, and speak what we have to say, and the compass of the 
human voice is included in their elementary sounds ; so twenty- two 
books are reckoned, by means of which, being as it were the 
alphabet and elements in the doctrine of God, the yet tender infancy 
of our man is instructed, while it still hath need of milk 6 ." Twenty- 
two letters form the language, and twenty-two books the faith. 
The same is the opinion of Richardus de S. Victore, (Exception. 
Lib. ii. c. 9). For, after telling us that there are twenty-two 
canonical books of the old Testament, he presently subjoins : 
" There are besides other books, as the Wisdom of Solomon, the 
book of Jesus the son of Sirach, and the book of Judith and Tobit, 
and the book of Maccabees, which are read indeed, but not written 
in the canon 7 ." In which words he plainly denies them to be 
canonical. And presently after, in the same place : " In the old 
Testament there are certain books which are not written in the 
canon, and yet are read, as the Wisdom of Solomon, &c." So 
Lyra, (Prolog, in libros Apocryph.) ; Dionysius Carthusianus, (Com 
ment, in Gen. in princip.) ; Abulensis, (in Matt. c. 1) ; Antoninus, 
(3 p. Tit. xvni. c. 5). Cardinal Hugo, in his Prologue to Joshua, 
calls Tobit, Judith, Maccabees, the Wisdom of Solomon, and Eecle 
siasticus, apocryphal ; and says that the church does not receive 
them for proof of the faith, but for instruction in life. These are 
his lines ; in metre, poor enough ; in sense, excellent. 

Restant apocryphi, Jesus, Sapientia, Pastor, 
Et Machabaeorum libri, Judith atque Tobias : 
Hi, quod sunt dubii, sub canone non numerantur ; 
Sed quia vera canunt, ecclesia suscipit illos. 

Bat, in what sense the church always received them, the same 
author explains elsewhere (in Prol. Hieron. in Lib. Regum) 8 : " Such 
the church receives not for proof of the faith, but for instruction 

[ 6 Quomodo ergo viginti duo elementa sunt, per quse Hebraice scribimus, 
omneque loquimur, et eorum initiis vox humana comprehenditur ; ita vigiriti 
duo volumina supputantur, quibus quasi literis et exordiis in Dei doctrina 
tenera adhuc et lactens viri nostri eruditur infantia.] 

[ 7 Sunt prseterea alii libri, ut Sapientia Salomonis, liber Jesu Filii Sirach, 
et Liber Judith, et Tobias, et liber Machabseorum, qui leguntur quidem, sed 
non scribuntur in Canone. Opp. p. 320. Rothomag. 1650.] 

[ 8 Tales recipit ecclesia, non ad probationem fidei, sed ad morum in- 
structionem. Opp. Venet. 1703. T. I. p. 218. 2.] 



in morals." Which other fathers also had said before him. The 
Gloss upon Gratian s decree (Dist. 16) affirms that the Bible has 
some apocryphal books in it. Erasmus in many places maintains 
the same opinion, and Cardinal Cajetan most expressly. Now all 
these flourished after the Trullan synod, and some of them after 
the Florentine ; and the church of Rome acknowledges them all as 
her sons and disciples ; except perhaps Erasmus, whom she hath 
expelled, as he deserves, from her family : although Leo the 
Tenth called even him, in a certain epistle, his most dearly beloved 
son 1 . Antonio Bruccioli, an Italian, translated the old Testament 
into the Italian language 2 , and wrote commentaries upon the cano 
nical books, but omitted the apocryphal. Even since the council 
of Trent, Arias Montanus, who was himself present in that synod, 
and published that vast biblical work, and is called by Gregory 
XIII. his son, in an edition of the Hebrew Bible with an inter 
linear version declares that the orthodox church follows the canon of 
the Hebrews, and reckons apocryphal the books of the old Testa 
ment which were written in Greek. 

Thus, therefore, I conclude : If these books either were canoni 
cal, or so declared and defined by any public and legitimate judgment 
of the church ; then these so numerous fathers, ancient and modern, 
could not have been ignorant of it, or would not have dissented, 
especially since they were such as desired both to be, and to be 
esteemed, catholics. But these fathers, so numerous, so learned, so 
obedient to the godly precepts of the church, were not aware that the 
church had decreed any such thing concerning the canon of scrip 
ture, and openly pronounced these books to be apocryphal. There 
fore these books are not canonical, and were never inserted in the 
sacred canon of scripture by any legitimate authority or sanction 
of the church. Whence it follows that our church, along with all 
other reformed churches, justly rejects these books from the canon ; 
and that the papists falsely assert them to be canonical. If they 
demand testimonies, we have produced them. If they ask for a 
multitude, they ought to be content with these which are so many, 
and may well satisfy their desires with them. 

[ l See Leo s Epistle "Dilecto Filio Erasmo Roterod." prefixed to Eras 
mus Greek Testament, Basil. 1535.] 

[ 2 The first edition was printed in 1530. There were three others printed 
in his life-time, in 1539, 1540, 1541. See an account of him in Simon, Hist. 
Crit. p. 333.] 




ORDER requires that we should now treat particularly of these 
several apocryphal scriptures : and first of those which are counted 
parts of the canonical books. Here, in the first place, what is 
commonly called "the book of Baruch" claims an examination. To 
confirm the authority of this book, our opponents avail themselves 
of four arguments. The first is, that there is a quotation made 
from the last chapter of Baruch in 2 Mace. ch. ii. The second, that 
the councils of Florence and Trent place this book by name amongst 
the canonical scriptures. The third, that the church takes some 
lessons from this book in her anniversary offices. The fourth, that 
many fathers produce testimonies from this book as canonical. 
From these premises Bellarmine concludes that this book is truly 
canonical (Lib. i. c. 8). To these we can answer briefly : for the 
arguments are, as you see, altogether slight ones, and require no 
very long reply. Thus, therefore, I answer them severally. 

To the first : The second book of Maccabees is apocryphal ; as 
I shall hereafter prove by demonstrative arguments. Now one 
apocryphal book cannot confirm by its testimony the authority of 
another apocryphal book. Therefore this is no argument. 

To the second : We care nothing for those councils. They 
were popish and altogether antichristian assemblies. The papists 
may attribute as much weight to those councils as they please : we 
refuse to be pressed or bound by any such authority. 

As to what is objected in the third place, although the church 
used to read, and still does read, certain parts of this book, yet it by 
no means hence follows that the book is in the genuine and strict 
sense canonical. For we have shewn above, from Jerome and other 
fathers, that the church was wont formerly to read books not 
canonical, for the benefit of the people in forming their morals, but 
not for confirmation of the faith. Besides, what church is it whose 
example they object to us as an argument ? For we are so far from 
recognising in the custom of the Roman church the force of so 
great an argument, that we count it a matter of very slight im 

To the last : I acknowledge that some testimonies are cited 
from this book by the fathers ; and I add too that some of them 



believed this piece to be a part of Jeremiah. And, in truth, this 
book does seem preferable to the rest of the apocrypha : for every 
thing in it, whether we consider the matter or the style, appears 
more august and suitable to the sacred character than in the other 
books. Nevertheless, the book is apocryphal, as you shall hear. 
There is no consequence in this reasoning : Some fathers thought 
this book a part of Jeremiah, therefore it is a part of Jeremiah. 
For those fathers were in error, as is manifest. Nor is there force 
in this inference : Some fathers cited testimonies from this book, 
therefore the book hath canonical authority. For testimonies are 
often alleged from other books also, which are by no means to be 
esteemed canonical. Irenseus cites the book of the Shepherd (as 
Eusebius relates, Lib. v. c. 8) l ; but I suppose he did not deem that 
book part of the canonical scriptures. Yet, alleging a passage from 
it, he hath used the expression, "Well spoke the scripture which 
says, &c." And Eusebius writes of him, "He receives the scripture 
of the Shepherd." And Nicephorus also attests the same, Lib. iv. c. 14. 
In like manner Athanasius, in his third oration against the Arians, 
produces something from the book of Baruch : but the same writer 
does also, in the same oration, bring forward a testimony, to prove 
that the word is God, from the third of Esdras, which book our 
adversaries confess to be apocryphal. Testimonies out of this third 
book of Esdras are used also by Cyprian (Epist. Lxxiv.) 2 ; by Au 
gustine (Vet. ac Nov. Test. Qusost. 109 3 , and Civit. Dei, Lib. xvm. 
c. 36) 4 ; and Ambrose (De bono Mortis, c. 10), in order to prove 
that souls are not extinguished with the body 5 . Now this book of 
Esdras is not canonical, as the papists themselves allow ; so that it 
is manifest that the cause is not concluded by this argument. 

[* Oti HOVQV Se oldev, aX\a KOL ano^e^rai rr]v rov Tloip-evos ypatfrrjv, \eya>v 
" KaXcos 1 ovv ivntv 17 ypac^j) 17 Aeyouo-a, K. r. A." T. II. p. 54. ed. Heinich.j 

[ 2 Scientes quia et aptid Esdram veritas vicit, sicut scriptum est, veritas 
manet et invalescit in eeternum. p. 215. ed. Fell.] 

[ 3 Et audi Zorobabel, qui super omnia ait veritas. Aug. Opp. T. in. p. 
11. 2980, A. The reference is 3 Esdr. iii. 12. But this is not a genuine 
piece : see the admonition prefixed by the Benedictines.] 

[ 4 Nisi forte Esdras in eo Christum prophetasse intelligendus est, quod . . . 
. . . veritatem super omnia demonstrayit esse victricem. Ibid. T. vn. 833. 


[ 5 De quo tibi Esdrse librum legendum suadeo, qui et illas philosophoruin 
nugas despexerit; et abditiore prudentia, quam collegerat ex revelatione, 
perstrinxerit eas substantial esse superioris. Epistt. Class, i. Ep. 34. n. 2. T. 
vm. p. 433. Paris. 1839.] 


The papists object, that these books of Esdras are not cited by 
those fathers as sacred and canonical, but that the book of Baruch 
and the rest are cited and mentioned by them in such a manner as 
to shew that they thought them to be truly canonical. Therefore 
there is no analogy between the two cases. I answer, that they 
are indeed styled by them sacred, and scriptures, but in a certain 
general sense. For most of them did not suppose that the books 
were sacred in such a sense as to leave no difference between them 
and the books which are truly divine and canonical. This John 
Driedo, one of the chief popish writers, expressly testifies in the 
case of this very book of Baruch. For thus he writes (de Cat. 
Script. Lib. i. c. 4. ad Difficult. 11): "So Cyprian, Ambrose, and 
the other fathers cite sentences from the book of Baruch, and from 
the third and fourth of Esdras, not as if they were canonical books, 
but as containing salutary and pious doctrines, not contrary, but 
rather consonant to our faith 6 ." A papist answers the objection of 
the papists : for in these words he denies that the book of Baruch 
is either canonical, or cited as such by those fathers. Melchior 
Canus too (Lib. xn. c. 6) writes thus of this same book : " For, as 
we have shewn in the second book, the church hath not placed the 
book of Baruch in the number of the sacred writings so certainly and 
clearly, as to make it a plain catholic verity that it is a sacred piece, 
or a plain heresy that it is not. That book, therefore, or any other, 
which may be called in question without heresy, can not produce 
certain and evident verities of the catholic faith 7 ." From this testi 
mony of Canus I collect, in the first place, that the book of Baruch 
is not clearly canonical : in the next, that we may deny its canonicity 
without heresy : lastly, that no firm and evident verity of the 
catholic faith can be derived from this book ; an evident proof 
that the book itself is apocryphal, since all canonical books are fit 
to produce certain and evident verities of the catholic faith. 

Aquinas, however, in his Commentary upon Jude, says, that it 

[ 6 Sic Cyprianus, Ambrosius, ceterique patres citant sententias ex libro 
Baruch, et 3 et 4 Esrae, non tanquam ex canonicis libris, sed tanquam ex 
libris continentibus qusedam pia, juvantia et non contraria, sed consona potius 
fidei nostrse. Opp. Lovan. 1550. T. I. p. 22.] 

[ 7 Nam, ut in secundo libro docuimus, libellum Baruch non adeo explorate 
et firmiter in sacroram numero ecclesia reposuit, ut aut ilium esse sacrum 
fidei catholicse yeritas expedita sit, aut non esse sacrum hseresis expedita sit. 
Libellus ergo iste, sive quilibet alius, qui in qusestionem citra crimen hsereseos 
vocari possit, non efficit certas atque constantes catholicse fidei veritates. 
Opp. Colon. Agripp. 1605. p. 588.] 


is " lawful to derive a testimony to the truth from an apocryphal 
book/ since Jude the apostle hath cited a passage from the apo 
cryphal book of Enoch, v. 14. But, although I by no means deny 
that it is just as much lawful to quote a passage from an apocry 
phal book, as from a profane author, as Paul cites an Iambic line 
from Menander, 1 Cor. xv. 33, a hemistich from Aratus, Acts 
xvii. 28, and an heroic verse from Epimenides the Cretan, Tit. 
i. 12 ; yet I do not think that this passage, which Jude recites, 
is taken from an apocryphal book, because Jude uses the term 
Trpoe(p^Tvo- 9 " he prophesied." Consequently, he hath adduced 
this as a prophetical testimony : unless, perhaps, he used the word 
prophet here in the same sense as Paul when he called Epimenides 
a prophet ; though, indeed, he does not style him a prophet simply, 
but a prophet of the Cretans. 

We have now sufficiently shaken the authority of this book. 
For I ask, who wrote it ? Either Baruch himself, or Jeremiah, is 
counted the author of the book. But neither of them could have 
written it ; as is clear from hence that it was written in Greek, 
not in Hebrew, as Jerome tells us, and as the book itself shews. 
For Jerome says, in the preface to Jeremiah 1 , that this book is not 
read by the Hebrews, nor extant amongst them, and that it was 
therefore wholly omitted by him. But if it had been written by 
that Baruch, or by Jeremiah himself, it would doubtless have 
appeared in Hebrew, not in Greek : for Jeremiah spoke in 
Hebrew, and published his prophecies in the Hebrew language ; 
and Baruch was Jeremiah s scribe, and committed many things 
to writing from Jeremiah s lips, as we find in Jerem. xxxvi. 4. 
Besides, the very phraseology and diction is Greek, not so con 
densed, nervous, sedate, and majestic as the style of scripture is 
wont to be. In the Epistle of Jeremiah, which is recited in 
Chap, vi., the expression, " Ye shall be there seven generations," 
(v. 2), is new and foreign to the Hebrew idiom : for in the Hebrew 
books the term "generation" is never used to designate a period 
often years, as Francis Junius hath correctly observed. Whoever 
wrote this book was a Greek, or wrote in Greek. Consequently 
he was neither Baruch nor any other of the prophets. Thus we 
prove by inevitable deduction that this book must be necessarily 
esteemed apocryphal. 

[ l Librum autem Baruch notarii ejus, qui apud Hebraeos nee legitur nee 
habetur, prsetermisimus. T. ix. p. 783.] 




So much of Esther as is Hebrew, that is, canonical, we receive ; 
and therefore we raise no question concerning those ten chapters 
which are contained in the Hebrew books. The whole question 
and controversy is concerning those seven last chapters, which are 
of a different family and stamp, as we shall easily make appear. 
The papists will have those seven chapters joined to the rest, 
without any distinction in point of authority, because the Triden- 
tine council, which has more weight with them than all reason and 
scripture together, commands those books to be received with all 
their parts. Their arguments are nearly the same as were alleged 
for the book of Baruch. Some passages from these chapters are 
read in the offices of the church, and the fathers sometimes adduce 
testimonies from them : the little force of which kind of reason 
ing we have already sufficiently exposed. They say besides that 
Josephus (Antiq. Lib. x. cap. 6 2 ) mentions two epistles of Aha- 
suerus, which are found in these last chapters and not in the pre 
vious ones. These are the arguments of our opponents. 

I do not choose to reply again to what has been already re 
futed. But I will observe that the argument which rests upon the 
authority of Josephus is inconclusive. For, in the first place, what 
if Josephus took something from these chapters, to enlarge or illus 
trate his history ? must he therefore have deemed these chapters 
to appertain to the canonical scripture? But, concerning this 
whole matter, let Lyra answer for me, who, in the close of his 
commentary upon this book, makes use of the following expressions 3 : 
" The rest which comes after I do not intend to explain, because 
it is not in the Hebrew, nor belongs to the canonical scripture, 
but rather seems to have been invented by Josephus and other 
writers, and afterwards inserted in the vulgar edition." Josephus, 
therefore, did not take those things from any canonical book, but 
was himself the first writer of them ; and others afterwards, read- 

[ 2 The reference should be xi. c. vi. 12. pp. 575, 576. Haverc.] 
[ 3 Cetera quse sequuntur non intendo exponere, quia non in Hebrseo sunt, 
nee de scriptura canonica, sed magis videntur a Josepho et aliis scriptoribus 
conficta, et postea edition! vulgatse inserta. Nic. Lyrani Comment. Antwerp. 
1634. in Jin. Estherce.] 


ing them in Josophus, copied them into the Bible. But although 
they were, as Lyra says, inserted in the vulgar edition, it does not 
therefore follow that they were ever allowed a canonical authority. 
Sixtus Senensis (Lib. i.) approves and follows the opinion of Lyra 1 . 
Lastly, it is certain that Josephus s own judgment concerning the 
canonical books was no other than that of Jerome, as appears from 
his first book against Apion. There he determines that no books 
are canonical, but such as were written by prophets of ascertained 
authority. Now these chapters were not written by any prophet, 
which I will prove by the following arguments. 

In the first place, the matters related in the former chapters 
are told over again in these following ones ; which repeated narra 
tion of the same events sufficiently shews that all were not written 
by the same person. For there was no reason whatever for his 
telling the same history twice over. Nor would the same author 
have written the latter part in a different language from the 
former. But if he were another person, why yet, if he were a 
prophet, did he not use the Hebrew tongue, the proper language 
of prophecy ? Learned men make either Ezra, or Joachim the 
priest, or Mordecai himself, the author of this book, and recognise 
no other than these. 

Secondly. There are many incongruities and inconsistencies, 
which it is impossible to reconcile, in these chapters, of which I 
will produce some specimens. First, in chap. xi. 2, Mordecai is 
said to have dreamed of the two eunuchs who conspired against 
the king, in the second year. See also chap. xii. 1. But in 
the second chapter, which is canonical, ver. 16, we read that this 
conspiracy took place in the seventh year of Ahasuerus. Bellar- 
mine answers, that the narrative of the plot which is contained in 
chap. xii. belongs to the beginning of the book ; but that what we 
read to have occurred in the second year in chap. xi. is not to be 
understood of the plot, but of the dream of Mordecai : for that the 
plot was laid in the seventh year, as we are told in the second 
chapter. But all this is said without proofs, and in spite of the 
plain declaration of the book itself. For at the close of chap. xi. 
Mordecai says that, when he arose, he pondered many thoughts in 
his mind concerning that dream, until the night, (ews -7-179 VVKTOS) ; 
and that then, as he rested in the court with the two eunuchs, he 

[ l Even in our own times, notwithstanding the stringent declaration of 
the council of Trent, this seems to have been the opinion of some respect 
able Roman Catholic divines, e. g. John in his Einleitung in A. T.j 


detected their conspiracy. There was not therefore an interval of 
five years between the dream of Mordecai and the plot of the 
eunuchs, as Bellarmine fancies, but only of one day, if there be 
faith in the book itself. 

Secondly, the narrative in this book was written many years 
after the death of Mordecai. For, in chap, xi. 2 mention is made of 
Ptolemy and Cleopatra, who assuredly lived after the times of 
Mordecai and of the prophets. Nor can one well understand what 
the meaning of that passage is intended to be. Lysimachus of Jeru 
salem, the son of Ptolemy, is said to have " interpreted the present 
epistle of Phurim," which Dositheus and his son Ptolemy brought in 
the reign of Ptolemy and Cleopatra. Bellarmine says it may be 
answered, that the first author of this book, who wrote the history 
of Esther in Hebrew, drew up only the sum of the story, and that 
this Hebrew narrative has come down to us ; that then, at some 
other time, the history was written more copiously by some other 
person, and translated into the Greek language by Lysimachus, as 
is indicated in chap. xi. ; and that not the original book of this 
later author, but only a translation of it, is now extant. 

But, in the first place, Lysimachus is not here said to have 
translated any Hebrew book into the Greek tongue, but only the 
epistle of Phurim. And, in the next place, if the assertion that 
the later author wrote this history more copiously than the former 
were true, then this history, of which a translation only hath 
survived, could not be that which the later author wrote : for it 
is shorter than the Hebrew history, and does not give the series 
of the narrative at all so fully, as every one may readily perceive. 
Lastly, who translated this Greek translation of Lysimachus into 
Latin? Jerome found a certain Latin translation, and subjoined 
it to his version, though containing, as he tells us, some things 
which were extant neither in the Hebrew, nor in the text of any 
other interpreter. Yet this vulgar translation, which Jerome 
deemed utterly unfaithful, is in the highest sense authentic and 
canonical with the papists. 

[ 2 The passage referred to is plainly a scholium, or marginal note, as 
follows : CTOVS Terdprov @a(n\fvovTos IlroXe/iaiov KOI KXeoTrarpas elo-tjveyKe 
-, os e(pr) tlvat, leptvs KOI Aeutr^y, Kai UroXf/jLOLos 6 vlos avroO, TTJV irpo- 
ToXrjv r>v (ppovpal, TJV (f>aa-av flvai KOI ijpp.rjvevKvai Avcrifjia^ov 
bv fv lepovo-aXijfj.. Compare Ussher de LXX. Int. p. 22, and 
Valckenaer de Aristobulo Judseo, p. 63, who supposes this Lysimachus to 
have been the author also of what is called the Third Book of Maccabees.] 


Thirdly, this pretended author tells us, chap. xii. 5, that a 
reward was given by the king to Mordecai for his information ; 
whereas, in chap. vi. 3 of the true history, we read that no reward 
was bestowed upon him. Bellarmine, however, replies that there 
is no difficulty here ; since in chap. xii. that magnificent reward is 
meant which he afterwards received. But any one who reads the 
place itself will see, that this interpretation can by no means stand. 
Far in this twelfth chapter Haman is said to have plotted mischief 
against Mordecai, after the gifts were bestowed upon him ; which 
cannot be understood of those most distinguished honours and gifts 
with which the king graced him after he had read the annals. 
For that very morning, as we read in chap, vi., Haman was in 
attendance to settle with the king about hanging Mordecai; and 
that very day Mordecai was raised to the highest dignity, and 
loaded with royal favours. Nor could Haman, after that, attempt 
anything against him : for Mordecai was then in the highest 
favour with the king, and Haman himself was presently hanged 
upon that same day. Therefore here there must be some false 
hood upon the other side. 

Fourthly, in chap. xii. 6, Haman is said to have been enraged 
against Mordecai on account of the eunuchs whom Mordecai 
accused, and whom, upon being arraigned of treason, and convicted 
by Mordecai s evidence, the king had punished capitally. But it 
is incredible that Haman, who had received such honour and dig 
nity from the king, should have favoured the treason of the 
eunuchs ; and nothing of the kind is found in the true history, 
but, on the contrary, a very different cause of his offence and 
anger is assigned, chap. iii. 

Fifthly, in chap. xv. 7, this author says that, when Esther 
came into the king s presence, the king looked upon her with so 
angry a countenance, that she fainted through fear. On the con 
trary, chap. v. 2, she is said to have obtained great favour on 
coming in to the king. 

Sixthly, in chap. xvi. 10, Haman is called a Macedonian ; 
but in chap. viii. 3, we find him to have been an Agagite, that is, 
of the race of Amalek. 

Seventhly, Haman is not only said (chap, xvi.) to have been 
a Macedonian himself, but also to have designed, after removing 
Mordecai and Esther, to lay violent hands upon the king, in order 
to transfer the kingdom of the Persians to the Macedonians. But, 
first, how could Haman have transferred the kingdom of the Per- 


sians to the Macedonians, if he had succeeded ever so well in putting 
the king to death ? For the kingdom of the Macedonians was at 
that time little or nothing. Besides, the true history contains not 
a trace of the story told in chap, xvi., that he plotted against 
Mordecai and Esther, in order that, by their destruction, he might 
the more easily attack the king, and transfer the kingdom to the 
Macedonians. For he was not aware that the queen was a Jewess, 
or related to Mordecai ; and he devised all sorts of mischief against 
Mordecai, not to open himself a way to the kingdom, but simply to 
satisfy his malice. For Mordecai was not, in the beginning, when 
Haman first conceived this grudge against him, in any station of 
authority, so as in any way to eclipse his splendour. But if any one 
choose to say that Mordecai s information was the means of saving 
the king from assassination, and that thus an obstacle was set in 
the way of Haman s ambition, and it was this which kindled such 
a blaze of hatred ; he must be given to understand that he contra 
dicts the sacred narrative. For that conspiracy of the eunuchs 
and the information of Mordecai took place before Haman had 
acquired so much favour and power in the royal court, as is mani 
fest from the second chapter and the beginning of the third. 

All these things are of such a nature, that they can by no means 
stand together or be reconciled with each other : whence it follows, 
that the authority of these chapters must needs fall to the ground. 
And rightly is it ordered that these chapters are not read in our 

Thirdly. These chapters are not written in Hebrew. For 
Jerome says that he had marked these chapters with an obelus set 
before them ; which is the mark by which he is wont to indicate 
apocryphal additions. For the pretence of some that they were 
once in the Hebrew text, but have now dropped out of it, is easily 
refuted by what we have observed already. Jerome had no sus 
picion of this, and the style cries out against it, and reason proves 
the contrary. For how could they have been better preserved in 
the Greek than in the Hebrew ? or what need is there to give any 
credit to mere fictions and conjectures of this nature ? 

Fourthly. Besides other authors, and some papists also, whom 
I have already alleged, Sixtus Senensis, who wrote his Bibliotheca 
after the council of Trent, in the first book of that work asserts 
these chapters to be apocryphal; a concession which he never 
would have made, unless overcome by the very force of truth, 
since he labours so energetically to maintain the credit of the other 


apocryphal pieces. Nor did the Tridentine decree, requiring the 
books there mentioned to be received with their parts^ avail to 
turn him from his opinion. For he contends that this is no native 
and genuine part of the Book of Esther, but that in these chapters 
all is supposititious. He writes in plain words, that " by reason of 
these strips appended, inserted by the rashness of certain writers 
from various quarters 1 ," it had come to pass that it was late ere 
this book acquired a canonical authority amongst Christians. So 
clearly did pious men see these to be fabulous, that they threw a 
shade of suspicion over even the canonical portions. And though 
this papist, Sixtus, is blamed by the Jesuits, yet is he not refuted. 
But let us leave them to quarrel amongst themselves. 



To confirm the authority of these parts, the papists can allege 
no peculiar argument. For their allegation, that the fathers quote 
testimonies from these chapters as well as from the others, and call 
them testimonies of scripture, is devoid of strength. They do in 
deed quote them, and call them scriptures ; but they do not affirm 
them to be canonical scriptures, such as the Books of Moses and 
the prophets. They are styled scriptures, because they used to 
be publicly read in the church, that the people might thence take 
noble examples of morals, and were preferred (as Augustine says in 
a certain place) to the treatises of all other discoursers 2 . But this 
is far from proving the authority of these portions equal to that of 
the remainder of the book, which is truly canonical. Now, there 
fore, let us say a few words of that Hymn of the three children 
which is commonly placed in, and reckoned to the end of the third 
chapter; and of the History of Susanna, Bel and the Dragon, 
which are joined in the vulgar Bibles with the prophecy of Daniel, 
and counted a part of it. These pieces I will prove to be spurious 
and apocryphal by sound and cogent arguments. 

[* Propter has appendicum lacinias hinc inde quorundam scriptorura te- 
meritate insertas. p. 20. Paris. 1610.] 

[ 2 Qui sententiis tractatorum instrui volunt, oportet ut istum librum 

sapientise omnibus tractatoribus anteponant. August, de Prsedest. 

Sanct. Lib. i. c. 14.] 


First, then, let us hear Jerome expressly pronouncing his 
judgment concerning these portions. Thus he speaks, in his proem 
to Daniel, and in the preface of his commentary upon that pro 
phet : " Daniel,, as it stands in the Hebrew text, has neither the 
History of Susanna, nor the Hymn of the three children, nor the 
fables of Bel and the Dragon ; which we, considering that they are 
now dispersed over the whole world, have subjoined with an obelus 
prefixed, and [as it were] striking them through, lest the ignorant 
should think that we had cut off a great part of the volume 3 . * 
From these words of Jerome we collect : 1. That no part of these 
pieces was found in the Hebrew, which sufficiently proves them to 
be spurious. 2. That they seemed to Jerome to deserve the stroke 
of that obelus by which he uses to distinguish the apocryphal from 
the canonical passages. 3. That, nevertheless, they were in use 
and read every where. 4. That he would himself have omitted 
them, but that he feared the calumnies of certain persons. 5. 
That it was the unlearned who supposed that these were really 
any parts of Daniel. 

Secondly, John Driedo (de Catal. Scripturae, Lib. i. cap. ult.) 
does not say that this history is canonical, but only that it is not 
to be despised ; and that he who believes these things to be all 
true, falls into no pernicious error ; " even as we read," says he, 
" the acts of the martyrs, from which we do not derive arguments 
for matters of faith 4 ." You see what distinguished and honourable 
opinions the papists themselves entertain of this history. We our 
selves can not think more lowly than they do of this class of 
writings. But that learned theologian saw that it was impossible 
to frame any more exalted judgment of these fragments, since they 
are not found in the Hebrew and sacred volumes of the scrip 
ture, but are derived from the Greek translation of the worthless 
and perfidious Theodotion. 

Thirdly, that Paronomasia, of which Jerome speaks in the pre 
face to Daniel, awo TOV o"^ivou cr^ idei, CLTTO TOV TTQ IVOV Tnoj crei 5 , 

[ 3 Apud Hebrseos nee Susannse habes historiam, nee hymnum trium puc- 
rorum, nee Belis dracoiiisque fabulas : quas nos, quia in toto orbe disperse 
sunt, veru^- anteposito, eoque jugulante, subjecimus, ne videremur apud im- 
peritos magnam partem voluminis detruncasse. Hieron. Opp. T. ix. 1362. 
ed. Vallars. Veronse. 1738.] 

[ 4 Ut legimus gesta martyrum, ex quibus argumentura non sumimus effi- 
cax ad demonstrandum ea quse sunt fidei. T. i. p. 22.] 

[ 5 Audivi ego quendam de prseceptoribus Judseorum, quum Susannas 
derideret historiam, et a Greece nescio quo diceret esse confictam, illud op- 


proves that this little story was not written in Hebrew, but in 
Greek. Daniel asked one of the elders, under what tree he had 
found Susanna with her paramour. He answered, under a mastick 
tree, O-^LVOV. Then Daniel forthwith, alluding to the name of the 
tree, subjoins, cr^/cjet <je o Oeos. Afterwards he comes to the other, 
and asks him under what tree he had seen Susanna committing 
so foul a crime ? He mentions a different tree, and says that 
it was under a holm-oak, trpivov. Then Daniel, using a similar 
play upon the name, brings in his judgment, Trpicrei ere 6 Geoj. 
This Greek etymology (for so Jerome calls it) shews that the 
history itself was written in the Greek language : for you will find 
no allusion of the kind in the corresponding Hebrew names and 
verbs. Therefore it was not written by Daniel, or any prophet. 

The papists object, that this argument was long ago answered 
by Origen in his Epistle to Julius Africanus, mentioned by Euse- 
bius 1 , who alleges that there were words in the Hebrew which 
contained plainly such an allusion, but that the Greek interpreter 
had changed the names to preserve the paronomasia. But nothing 
can be slighter or more futile than that conjecture. For, in the 
first place, though I confess that Origen did write about this mat 
ter to Julius Africanus, yet what he wrote is not known. For the 
piece upon that subject which hath lately appeared hath not yet 
gained any clear credit 2 . 

I ask, in the next place, what are those Hebrew names of trees 
which will yield this allusion ? a question which must needs bring 
them to a stand. 

Thirdly, the Holy Spirit does not use to affect this change of 
names, or put a force upon the truth of things, or alter their deno 
minations, especially seeing that the refutation of the charge de 
pends upon the very diversity of the names. For if they answered 
that they had seen Susanna under an oak or a fig, the story should 
not have been told as if they had said a mastick or a holm-tree, 
since that is not true in fact. Effectually to discover the falsehood 
of these calumnies of the elders, the very names of the trees should 
have been preserved. 

ponere quod Origeni quoque Africanus opposuit, etymologias has OTTO TOV 
a^ivov cr^tVat, /ecu OTTO TOV Trpivov rrpia-ai, de Grseco sermone descendere. Opp. 
T. ix. 1364.] 

[ x Hist. Eccl. vi. c. 31.] 

[ 2 All doubts, however, were very soon removed by its publication in 
Greek by Hsesclielius. August. Vindel. 1602.] 


Fourthly, I cannot understand how it should be taken for a 
solid proof of the falsehood of the charges, that because different 
trees were named by the elders, therefore it should be evident that 
Susanna was undeservedly accused. They might have said that 
they had not specially observed what kind of tree it was, and so 
might easily have been mistaken. They who were so wicked in 
devising the charge would not have been so stupid in proving it. 

Lastly, when they object to us in this cause so often the 
authority of Origen, let them attend to what Jerome hath 
written of him in the preface to Daniel. " I wonder," says he, 
"that some querulous persons should be indignant at me, as if I 
had mutilated the book ; whereas Origen, and Eusebius, and Apol- 
linarius, and other ecclesiastical men and the doctors of Greece, 
confess, as I have said, that these visions are not extant in the 
Hebrew, and declare that they are not bound to answer Porphyry 
in defence of things which have no authority of sacred scripture 3 ." 
If that be true which Jerome writes of Origen, they have no 
reason to call Origen a patron of this history. For Origen together 
with the other Greek doctors expressly affirmed, if we believe 
Jerome, that these pieces were not extant in the Hebrew, nor pos 
sessed the authority of sacred scripture. 

In fine, the papists cannot agree amongst themselves who 
that Daniel was who was thrust into the lion s den for slaying 
the dragon and destroying Bel, and was suffered to remain there 
six days. Bellarmine, after carefully weighing the whole matter, 
at length arrives at the conclusion, that this Daniel was not the 
same person as the distinguished prophet, but a different one. 
For the great prophet Daniel was of the tribe of Juda, as is 
manifest: but the Seventy, as Jerome testifies in the preface to 
Daniel, make that Daniel who had intercourse with Cyrus, a 
priest of the tribe of Levi ; and the more learned papists think 
that this was the same Daniel who destroyed Bel and the dragon, 
and was .preserved six days in the den of lions. Thus these 
things cannot be speciously defended, without introducing a second 
Daniel contrary to the common and general opinion. But what 
proof have we of the existence of such a Daniel? What credit 

[ 3 Et miror quasdam ^fji^n^ioipovs indignari mihi, quasi ego decurtaverim 
librum : quum et Origenes, et Eusebius, et Apollinarius, aliique ecclesiastic! 
viri et doctores Grsecise has, ut dixi visiones non haberi apud HebrEeos fate- 
antur, nee se debere respondere Porphyrio pro his quse nullam scripturse 
sanctse auctoritatem prsebeant. Hieronym. Opp. T. v. 619.] 


do the stories which the Seventy tell about this matter deserve ? 
And if what is told in this fourteenth chapter was not done by 
that great Daniel, but by some other, why is it made a part 
of that Daniel ? why said to be his, and attributed to him ? Let 
all, therefore, understand that the Daniel who subverted Bel, burnt 
the dragon, and remained six days in the den, was not that great 
Daniel whose prophetic book is extant, and worthy of all authority, 
and that by the confession of the papists themselves, but some 
other unknown, unheard of, and uncertain Daniel. But we have 
hitherto never heard of more prophets of the name of Daniel than 
one, and may therefore dismiss this second Daniel without further 



AFTER having proved that those fragments which are stuck 
upon certain canonical books should be cut off, and plucked out 
from the body of sacred scripture, it follows now that we should 
treat of those six entire apocryphal books. 

And first let us consider the book of Tobit, for the authority of 
which the papists adduce no special argument whatsoever. For, 
though it be quoted by the fathers, it does not thence follow that 
it is a canonical book, as we have already clearly proved : and as 
to its being called " divine" by Ambrose, the meaning is not to 
teach us that the book is undoubtedly canonical and equal in every 
respect to those which really form part of the canon, but that it is 
a book by no means to be despised or esteemed lightly. For 
although it is not truly canonical, yet it may be styled divine, as it 
was wont to be read in the church, and was joined with the canoni 
cal books in one volume, so as commonly to pass under the name 
of scripture. For that it is not properly canonical, we have shewn 
by many testimonies of the fathers, and can demonstrate by plain 
arguments. But here consider how the papists run into a clear 
contradiction. Bellarmine confesses that Jerome rejects this book, 
and the rest which are involved in the present controversy, from 
the canon of scripture ; and pretends that it is no wonder he should 
do so, since no general council (which hath the regular privilege of 
determining and defining what should be deemed the canon of 
scripture) had decreed the canonicity of these books. Yet, in the 


meanwhile, the papists bring testimonies from Ircnaeus, Cyprian, 
Hilary, Ambrose, to prove these books canonical. But how or by 
what authority could those fathers affirm these books to be canoni 
cal, when that matter was not yet certain and clearly known, being 
as yet not decided by any general council? Therefore, either 
this is not the exclusive prerogative of a general council, or those 
fathers followed opinion rather than judgment and reason, when they 
received (as our opponents imagine) these books for canonical, which 
the church had not yet approved by its sanction and testimony. 

Let us now bring forward some objections against the authority 
of this book. And first, Jerome witnesses the judgment which the 
church of old passed upon this book. For he says, in the preface 
to the books of Solomon, that the church does not receive the 
book of Tobit into the canonical scriptures 1 . Therefore the catholic 
church (of which Jerome speaks) hath judged this book not to be 
canonical. And, in the prologue to the book of Tobit 2 , he wonders 
at the importunity of those by whom he had been induced to 
translate into the Latin tongue this book, which the Hebrews had 
cut off from the list of the divine scriptures, and which was only 
to be read in the Chaldee, a language with which he was unac 
quainted. Wherefore he confesses that he had availed himself of 
the assistance of another, and had rendered in Latin words that 
which some unknown interpreter, skilled both in the Hebrew and 
Chaldee languages, had dictated to him in Hebrew. So that 
Jerome hath rather translated some other person s version of this 
book than the book itself. Besides, the book is now extant only in 
Greek and Latin, and it is wholly uncertain in what language it 
was originally written. Jerome writes that he had seen a Chaldaic 
copy of it, but attributes to it no sort of authority. And the 
present copies of the book are exceeding various and corrupt, as 
may be easily detected by a collation of them. What more do we 

[ l Judith, et Tobi, et Machabseorum libros legit quidem ecclesia, sed inter 
canonicas scripturas non recipit. Hieronym. Opp. T. ix. 1296.] 

[ 2 Mirari non desino exactionis vestrse instantiam : exigitis enim ut librum 
Chaldseo sermone conscriptum ad Latinum stylum traham, librum utique 
Tobice, quern Hebrsei de Catalogo divinarum scripturarum secantcs, his qua? 

Apocrypha memorant, manciparunt Utriusque linguae (Hebraese ct 

Chaldsese) peritissimum loquacem inveniens, unius diei laborem arripui ; et 
quidquid ille Hebraicis verbis expressit, hoc ego, accito notario, sermonibus 
Latinis exposui. Opp. T. x. 293. The common reading is Hagiograplia for 
Apocrypha: but the correctness of the latter is so evident, that it is ad 
mitted by the Benedictines and Vallarsius.j 



want? The book may speak for itself, the whole character of 
which shews, as clear as the light, that it hath no claims to 



OUR adversaries snatch up an argument from Jerome in favour 
of this book, which goes under the name of Judith. For Jerome 
tells us, in the preface to the book of Judith, that this book was 
counted in the sacred scriptures by the Mcene synod 1 . Therefore, 
say they, Jerome himself testifies that this book at least is canonical. 
But this testimony injures our opponents cause more than it helps 
it. For first, if that synod received this book into the number of 
the sacred scriptures, it affected those others, which it omitted, 
with no slight prejudice. For if, as these men will have it, it 
determined this book to be canonical, why did it not comprehend 
the others also in the same decree, if they be really canonical ? 

Secondly, Jerome s words are, " We read that the synod of 
Nice counted this book in the number of sacred scriptures." But 
where this is read, he tells us not. And if the Mcene synod 
had determined the canonicity of this book, the council of Laodicea, 
which was held a short time after that of Nice, would not have left 
it in the Apocrypha. And Erasmus hath rightly noted, that Jerome 
does not himself affirm that this book was counted sacred scripture 
by the council of Nice. 

Thirdly, "To be canonical scripture" is one thing, and "to 
be counted in the number of sacred scripture" is another thing. 
For those pieces which are read along with the sacred scriptures 
for the edification of the people, although not for confirmation of 
doctrines, are counted in the number of sacred scriptures. And 

Sed quia hunc librum Synodus Nicena in numero sanctarum scrip- 
turarum legitur computasse, &c. Opp. T. x. 22. Most critics suppose that 
the council of Nice in some of their documents had quoted some testimony 
from the book of Judith : but Vallarsius thinks it more probable that Jerome 
alludes to some spurious index of the scriptures, forged under the name of 
that council. He appeals, very properly, to Cassiodorus, Instit. Divin. Lit. 
c. 14, to shew that such indexes existed, and passed under the names of the 
councils of Nice and Chalcedon.] 


that this was the mind and meaning of Jerome, is plain from 
Jerome s own words in the preface to the Proverbs. " The 
church," says he, " reads this book, but does not receive it amongst 
the canonical -scriptures 2 ." Although, therefore, this book be read, 
and counted in the number of sacred scriptures, yet is it not re 
ceived amongst those scriptures which are canonical and sacred in 
the highest sense. This Jerome asserts in plain words ; but this 
he would never have asserted, if the council of Nice had determined 
this book to be canonical. Nay, in this very preface Jerome 
shews this book not to be canonical by two arguments : first, be 
cause the Hebrews esteem it apocryphal, and unfit for confirm 
ing anything which may be called in question 3 : secondly, because 
the book was written in the Chaldee language, and the copies of it 
grossly corrupted and depraved. For which reason Jerome, in 
translating it, gave the general sense rather than the exact mean 
ing of each word, and only rendered into Latin what he found un- 
corrupted in the Chaldee 4 . Now, however, even those Chaldee 
copies themselves have perished ; and the Greek ones differ widely 
from Jerome s version. Besides, Josephus, in his commentaries 
upon the Jewish antiquities, does not touch at all upon this story 
of Judith, a sufficient proof that Josephus did not consider it 

But now let us estimate the authority of this book by the 
evidence of the book itself, and briefly examine what the times 
were of which it professes to be the history. For the opinions of 
authors upon this subject are various ; nor is it needful that we 
should enumerate them particularly. Let us hear, then, the de 
terminations of those who at present sway the Romish schools. 
Sixtus Senensis (Lib. vm. HaDr. 11) writes, that he who is called 
Nabuchodonosor was Ahasuerus, the son of Darius Hystaspes, 
and that he reigned in Babylon after Cyrus was slain. But no 
Persian emperor was called Nabuchodonosor; and the Persian 
kings fixed the seat of their empire not at Nineve but at Babylon. 

[ 2 Vide supra, p. 81.] 

[ 3 Apud Hebrseos liber Judith inter Apocrypha legitur : cujus auctoritas 
ad roboranda ilia quse in contentionem veniunt minus idonea judicatur. 
Chaldaeo tamen sermone conscriptus, inter historias computatur. Opp. T. x. 
p. 22.] 

[ 4 Magis sensum e sensu, quani ex verbo verbum transferens. Multorum 
codicum varietatem vitiosissimam amputavi : sola ea, qusc intelligentia integra 
in verbis Chaldseis invenirc potui, Latinis express!. Ibid.] 



But he who sent Holofernes with an army to subdue the world, is 
called in the first chapter of this book Nabuchodonosor, and is said 
to have reigned at Nineve. There are many other incongruities 
besides, so that Bellarmine refers this history to the times of Ma- 
nasseh, whom Nabuchodonosor took captive, brought to Babylon, 
and after a long while set at liberty. He supposes, therefore, that 
these events happened a little after the return of Manasseh, fol 
lowing Melchior Canus, (Lib. n. c. 16) : which opinion (although 
repugnant to that of all his predecessors, as Eusebius in his Chro- 
nicon, Augustine, Philo, Bede, Lyra, Driedo and others,) seems yet 
much more probable than that of the rest, since it is certain that 
there was no Nabuchodonosor in existence after the Babylonian cap 
tivity. But now let us sift this hypothesis, and prove that these 
things could not have been done even in the time of Manasseh. 

First, in the beginning of the fifth chapter, when Holofernes 
perceives that the Jewish people were meditating and preparing war, 
he convokes all his officers and asks them what people this was, 
and who was their leader. But if Manasseh had been only a short 
time before taken captive by the king of the Chaldeans, and carried 
into Babylon, neither Holofernes nor the Chaldeans could have 
been so ignorant who was their king as to be forced to seek and 
obtain information upon this subject from Achior the Ammonite. 
For they are made to inquire concerning the people, the country, 
the cities, the power of the inhabitants, their mode of warfare, 
their leader and king, as if they had never heard of such a nation 
as the Jews. But the Chaldeans had before then made war upon 
this people, wasted Judrea, taken Jerusalem, and carried away with 
them Manasseh into Babylon. Therefore these things about which 
they now inquire could not have been unknown to them. 

Secondly, when Holofernes came into Judaaa, the temple was 
overthrown. For these are the very words of Achior, in the 
Greek text : O vaos TOV Geoi; avrwv eyev^Orj el s $a<pos KUI a\ 
TroXets avrcov Kpar^9rja-av. " The temple of the Jews at Jeru 
salem was overturned and rased to the ground, and their cities 
occupied." But in the captivity of Manasseh there was no sub 
version of the temple, nor was the temple levelled to the ground 
before the reign of Zedekiah, in which (as everybody knows) the 
great captivity took place. 

Thirdly, if these things had happened in the time of Manasseh 
and after his return, the Jewish people would not have treated 
the messengers of the king of Babylon so shamefully, or dismissed 


them so Jgnominiously, as we are told they did in the first chapter. 
For the Jews had then experienced both the power and the cle 
mency of the Babylonians. 

Fourthly, in the history of the Kings, in which the acts of 
Manasseh are written, we read nothing of this kind about Holo- 
fernes ; which being a thing of such a remarkable character, it is 
surprising that the Holy Spirit should have omitted to mention it. 

Fifthly, in the last chapter we read that Judith lived more 
than 105 years, and that while Judith lived, after this victory no 
enemy troubled Israel. This peace, therefore, lasted many years. 
But now, when Holofernes was in Judaea, Judith had not passed 
the flower of her age ; for she was very beautiful, and she pleased 
Holofernes, and is called a girl, chap. xii. : so that, after this 
victory, there must have been peace for near a hundred years. 
For the peace is said to have subsisted many years, both during her 
life and after she was dead. But Amon succeeded Manasseh, and 
reigned two years ; Josiah succeeded Amon, and held the sove 
reignty thirty-one years. After the death of Josiah, a mighty mass 
of trouble fell upon the state, which could not be allayed until it 
was entirely subverted, and the people carried into captivity. How 
can we assign that long peace to such times as these ? 

Sixthly, I should wish to know, (for I am by no means dis 
posed to think it,) whether there was any Nabuchodonosor in 
Manasseh s time. For Nabuchodonosor the first, whose son was 
the second and great Nabuchodonosor, began to reign with Josiah, 
who was 33 years later than Manasseh. Before him, if we believe 
history, no Nabuchodonosor reigned either at Nineve or Babylon. 
For, as to the allegation that all the kings of the Babylonians were 
called Nabuchodonosor, I grant it to have been so after that great 
Nabuchodonosor, whose greatness was the cause that this name 
became hereditary in the line of Babylonian kings : but there is 
no evidence that they all went by that name before him. 

We have now shewn plainly enough that this history does not 
suit the times of Manasseh. And the argument which led Bellar- 
mine to cast it in those times is utterly destitute of force. Eliakim, 
says he, was at this time high priest, as he is called in the fifteenth 
chapter of Judith; and in the time of Hezekiah there was a 
certain Eliakim priest, the son of Hilkiah. But Bellarmine did 
not observe that that Eliakim, who is mentioned in the history of 
Hezekiah, was not a priest, but a certain officer, of the tribe of 
.Judah and the family of David, as appears from Isai. xxii. and 


2 Kings xviii. For he succeeded Shebna, who was either the royal 
scribe, as some render it, or the chancellor, as others, or the master 
of the royal household, as others ; but who neither was, nor could 
have been, a priest. Josephus, in the last book of his Jewish 
antiquities, gives a list of all the pontiffs of the Jews, from Aaron 
down to the last, yet names no Eliakim or Joakim about these 
times. You see what sort of foundation Bellarmine had for his 
opinion concerning the history of Judith. 

Genebrard, in his Chronology, (Lib. n. anno mundi 3560 l ) 
assigns the date of this history otherwise, but much more rashly. 
For he says this was the same Nabuchodonosor, who subdued 
Zedekiah, took Jerusalem, and carried the people into captivity ; 
that he sent Holofernes into Judaea in the 13th year of his reign, 
and in the 19th transferred the remainder of the Jews to Babylon. 
But Genebrard hath not made a correct distribution of the times. 
For how can it be truly said that Judith lived so long after 
that calamity, and that peace subsisted during her life and a long 
time after it? Or how could the Chaldeans have failed to be 
thoroughly acquainted with the people and king of the Jews, when 
Nabuchodonosor had, but a little before, made Zedekiah himself 
king of the Jews ? No time, therefore, can be found, which suits 
with these transactions. For it is manifest that none of these 
three opinions is true, and our adversaries can invent none truer 
than these. 



WE have now to treat of those two books, whereof one is 
called the Wisdom of Solomon, the other Ecclesiasticus ; which 
pieces we deny not to be replete with very beautiful admonitions, 
precepts, and sentiments, yet maintain to be deservedly placed 
amongst the apocryphal scriptures by our churches. Besides the 
common arguments, which we have often answered already, our 
adversaries allege one peculiar to the case of that book which is 
called the Wisdom of Solomon. They pretend that the apostle 
Paul hath used the testimony of this book, Rom. xi. 34, where he 
says, Ti s eyvw vovv Kvpiou, rj rts cnVx/3oiAos avrov eyevero , "Who 

[ l p. 236. Paris. 1600.] 


hath known the mind of the Lord, or who hath been his coun 
sellor ?" Likewise that the expression, Heb. i. 3, " Who, being the 
brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person," is 
borrowed from the seventh chapter of this book. 

As to the first place, I answer : The apostle does not intimate 
that he is there citing any testimony. For there is no consequence 
in the reasoning, that, because similar words to those are found in 
this place, therefore the apostle quoted this place. And even if 
the apostle recited the words of some prophetic scripture, or alluded 
to some scripture, we are not therefore obliged to suppose that it 
was to this place in Wisdom. For the same sentiment is found in 
Isaiah xl. 13, in these words : " Who hath directed the Spirit of 
the Lord, or, being his counsellor, hath taught him?" &c. Thus 
Thomas Aquinas, in his fifth lecture upon Horn. xi. says, that the 
apostle here brings in the authority of Isaiah 2 . So also Cajetan, 
and our countrymen the Rhemist interpreters, in their English 
version. Add to this, that, whereas there have been various 
indexes of testimonies cited out of the old Testament in the new, 
drawn up by many persons, and placed in various editions of the 
Bible, no one of these exhibits any testimony from this book of 
Wisdom, and all refer this citation by name to Isaiah 3 . 

As to the second place, the apostle makes no citation, as is 
evident. For what though some words be found in the book of 
Wisdom not unlike those wherein the apostle describes the person 
of Christ ? For indeed it cannot be said that the words are iden 
tically the same, but only that they are similar. So that this 
argument has but weak force to prove the canonical authority 
of this book. But now we, on the other hand, will produce some 
considerations which may shew that the book is apocryphal. We 
concede indeed, with Epiphanius, that it is a useful book ; but we 
add also with Epiphanius, that "it is not referred to the number 
of the canonical scriptures :" which assertion he extends also to the 
following one. 

First, this book, as all allow, was written in Greek, and that, as 
hath already been proved, is sufficient to exclude it from the canon. 

Secondly, Jerome, in the Preface to Proverbs, says of these 
two books, Wisdom and Ecclesiasticus : " These two volumes one 
may read indeed for the edification of the people, but not to 

[ 2 T. xvi. p. 37. 2. Opp. Venet. 1593.] 

[ 3 It is in fact the Sept. translation of that passage, with only the varia 
tion of fj for icaf.] 


confirm the authority of the dogmas of the church 1 ." "Where also 
he calls the book pseudepigraphal 2 , so as that, although it goes 
under the name of Solomon, it is not to be supposed to be really 
his ; and observes that it " savours of Grecian eloquence." 

Thirdly, most of the ancients determine that this book was 
written by Philo, who certainly neither was a prophet, nor could 
have written a canonical book of the old Testament. For he 
lived after Christ in the time of Caligula, before whom he dis 
charged his celebrated embassy on behalf of the Jews. But then 
the time of the old Testament had already passed; and Christ 
says, " The law and the prophets were until John the Baptist." 
For the conjecture of some, and Bellarmine among the rest, that 
there was some other Jewish Philo, is grounded upon no testimony 
of antiquity, and is rejected by Sixtus Senensis, (Lib. vin. c. 9), and 
is at variance with the general opinion of the doctors. For thus 
writes Bonaventura in his Commentary upon this book : " The 
first efficient cause, in the way of a compiler, was Philo the wisest 
of the Jews 3 ." So that he determines it to have been written by 
Philo, not by Solomon. But by what Philo ? By any other than 
him who flourished after Christ, and wrote so many pieces with 
so much eloquence? of whom some one said, $ YiXdrtov <pi\aj- 
v%ei, r} <&i\wv TrXaTw^et 4 . Bonaventura subjoins, " who lived 
in the times of the apostles." It is evident therefore what Philo he 
supposed the author of this book. For he recognised no other 
Philo ; and he tells us that the same was said by Rabanus. For 
Josephus, in his first book against Apion, names a certain older 
Philo, but one who was a Gentile and a philosopher, not a Jew 
or conversant with the scriptures 5 . Wherefore, since this book was 

[ ! Hsec duo ecclesia legat ad edificationem plebis, non ad auctoritatem 
ecclesiasticorum dogmatum confirmandam. T. ix. 1296.] 

[ 2 Alms ^evdcTriypcxpos, qui Sapientia Salomoiiis inscribitur ct 

ipse stylus Grsecam eloquentiam redolet; et nonnulli veterum scriptorum 
hunc esse Judsei Philonis afnrmant. T. ix. 1295. Hence some have en 
deavoured to explain how it came to be attributed to Solomon, Philo s name 
in Hebrew being Jedidiah.] 

[ 3 Proxima causa efficiens per modum compilantis fuit Philo sapientissimus 
Judseorum, qui temporibus apostolorum fuit. Opp. T. I. p. 341. Lugd. 1G68.] 

[ 4 Hieronym. in Catal. sub voc. PHILO. Photius. Cod. CV. Suidas, Voc. 
4>iXcoz>, &c.] 

[ 5 *O p.vroi 3>a\r]pvs Aijuyrpios KOI <3>iXo>z/ 6 7rp(rftvTpos KOI 
ov TroXv rrjs oXrjdfias dnyp-apTov ol$ o vyyivcoo Keiv aiov ov yap fvffv avrois 
Trdo-rjs aKpifaias roly rjfjifrepois ypdp,p,aari TrapanoKovBeiv. Joseph US, C. Apion. 
Lib. i. c. 23. p. 458. ed. Haverc.] 


written by that Philo the Jew in the time of the apostles, it cannot 
be by any means canonical. For if Philo were a true prophet, 
or imbued with the prophetic spirit, why did he not receive Christ? 
Why not believe the gospel? Why was he a stranger to the 
apostles ? Why are not his other books had in similar honour ? Cer 
tainly none of the ancients ever said that this Philo was a Christian. 
How then, after Christ, should a man who was not a Christian have 
written a book worthy to be classed amongst the canonical books 
of the old Testament ? But the most learned of the papists them 
selves allow that the book was not written by Solomon, so that 
that point needs not our confirmation. For if Solomon had written 
this book, it would not have been written in Greek but in He 
brew, as the Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song. But, as to 
the notion of some, who make Solomon the author of this book, 
because Solomon is introduced in chap. ix. making prayers and 
vows, it has no argumentative validity whatsoever. For that might 
have been done in the way of imitation by the writer whoever he 
might be : so that they who argue thence that Solomon must have 
been the writer himself, are grievously deceived. Jodocus Clito- 
va3us and Sixtus Senensis are chargeable with this ignorance and 
error. But, with better reason, John Driedo (Lib. i. c. 4, ad 4 m . 
difficult. 6 ) concludes that this book was not written by Solomon, 
and says that the manner of scripture requires, that he who speaks 
should speak in the person of another. So John Capistranus, 
in the preface to his Speculum Clerisorum, says that Philo speaks 
in the person of Solomon 7 . 

Fourthly, the church in old times judged no otherwise of this 
book than Jerome and we do ; and this may be collected even from 
Augustine, whom our adversaries name upon their side. For in his 
book de Prcedestinatione Sanctorum, c. 14, when he had cited a 
testimony from the book of Wisdom, chap. 4, " Speedily was he 
taken away, lest that wickedness should alter his understanding ;" 
many pious and catholic brethren cried out against him that the 
book was not canonical 8 . Andradius, in his Defence of the Council 
of Trent, (Lib. in.) attacks Chemnitz for using this place and tes 
timony out of Augustine with many reproaches, in which attack 

[ 6 pp. 41. 42. De Eccl. Script. Lovain. 1533. J 

[ 7 Et cum Philone in persona Salomonis divinum presidium . . . . in- 
vocabo. p. 2. Yenet. 1580.J 

[ 8 Quod a me quoque positum fratres istos ita respuisse dixistis, tanquain 
non de libro canonico adhibitum. Opp. T. x. p. 807. Par. 1690.] 


Bellarmine also joins (Lib. i. c. 12), but unreasonably. For, what 
ever may have been Augustine s own opinion of this book, yet it is 
evident that others did not think it canonical, and that their judg 
ment was the received opinion of those churches. Nor does Augus 
tine contend very anxiously or earnestly for the authority of the 
book : he only says that it is not " to be despised," since it had 
been so long read with great reverence in the church, and that it 
was "to be preferred to all the treatises of discoursers 1 ;" which may 
perhaps be conceded to him. But if Augustine had thought that the 
book was certainly canonical, he would never have been so slack 
and cool in defending its authority, but would have blamed with 
much severity those who rejected the book as utterly without claims 
to a place in the canon. In truth, what he hath written upon this 
subject is much more intended to screen himself from odium than to 
fortify the authority of this book. But we understand already that 
the book is not canonical, and we want nothing more. 



OUR adversaries can allege no special argument in behalf of 
this book ; and we need not repeat our answers to the common 
ones. Let us, on our side, bring some proofs to shew that the 
book is not canonical. First, we may collect that this book is 
not canonical from the fact of its having been written in Greek, 
upon the principles already explained. The grandfather of Jesus 
had written some things in Hebrew, which this Jesus translated 
into the Greek language, as we read in the prologue 2 . But the 
Hebrew original itself, when it was extant, never possessed a 
prophetic credit or authority, and hath now entirely disappeared ; 
so that now nothing remains but Jesus Greek version, which is full 
of many faults and blemishes. Nor was this Jesus anything more 
than a mere translator. 

Secondly, how highly this translator thought of himself and 
his own version, appears plainly from his own words and confession 
in the prologue. He says, that the Hebrew cannot be exactly 
rendered into Greek : (why so ?) and he asks pardon, if he should 

[* Vide supra, p. 76.] 

[ 2 C O irdmros pov lr]<rovs .... TrporJxOr) KOI avros (ruyypd-^ai n r>v fls 
K<U (ro<f)iav avrjKovrav. Prolog, in Sapient. Jesu fil. Sirach.] 


seem in some places to fail of an adequate power of expression 3 . 
By all which he sufficiently proves that he is neither a prophet 
nor endowed with a prophetic spirit. For the Holy Spirit asks 
pardon of no one, hesitates not in the choice of words, and ever 
reaches the mark he aims at ; especially if the writer apply due 
diligence, as this author professes that he hath. 

Lastly, what is written of Samuel in this book, chap. 49 4 , is 
taken variously and doubtfully by many, as we see from Augus 
tine (ad Simplicianum, Lib. n. quaest. 3, and de Cura pro mortuis, 
cap. 15). For the passage, 1 Sam. 28, is rather to be understood 
of a diabolical spectre; since the souls of the saints cannot be 
evoked by magical arts or incantations. Wherefore Augustine 
(De Doctr. Chr. Lib. n. c. 23 5 ) says, "that the image of the dead 
Samuel gave a true prediction to Saul." Where he indicates that 
it was not Samuel himself, but an image or semblance of Samuel, 
that conversed with Saul. The same father, in his book de Octo 
Dulcit. QusBst. (qu9Bst. 6), after disputing somewhat on the other 
side of this question, at last subjoins : " However there is in this 
matter a readier way of escaping difficulty, and more easy view of 
the meaning of the passage, if we suppose that it was not really the 
spirit of Samuel that was roused from its repose, but some phantom 
and imaginary illusion produced by diabolical devices : which the 
scripture therefore calls by the name of Samuel, because images 
are wont to be called by the names of those things of which they 
are images." And so in the sequel he concludes that " the scrip 
ture says that Samuel appeared, even though, perchance, it was 
the image of Samuel shewn by the devices of him who transforms 
himself into an angel of light, and his ministers as the ministers 
of righteousness 6 ." Likewise in his treatise de Mirabilib. Scripture 

[ 8 TIapaKK\T](rd .... <rvyyvwp,r]v fx fiv e>< * y &V SoKcofiev rw>v Kara rfjv 
7rf(pi\07rovrjp,va)v Ticrl T>V \et-eatv advvap.f1v ov yap icrodvvcifjie i avra 
Ls c E/3pcuoTt \ey6fjiva, KCU orav p,fTa^6fj fls erepav y\oxr(Tav. Ibid.] 

[ 4 xlvi. 20. Kat /uera TO vTrvSxrat avrov fTrpocpiJTfvo-cv. The Church of 
England omits this Terse in reading Ecclus. xlvi. as the evening lesson for 
November 16.] 

[ 5 Non enim, quia imago Samuelis mortui Sauli regi vera prsenuntiavit, 
propterea talia sacrilegia, quibus imago ilia prsesentata est, minus exsecranda 

[ 6 Quanquam in hoc facto est alius facilior exitus et expeditior intellectus, 
ut non vere spiritum Samuelis excitatum a requie sua credamus, sed aliquod 
phantasma et imaginariam illusionem diaboli machinationibus factam : quam 
propterea scriptura nomine Samuelis appellat, quia solent imagines earum 


(Lib. ii. c. 11), if that book deserves to be reckoned a genuine 
piece of Augustine s he writes in this manner : "Whence from the 
fact itself we may the more readily understand that this was not 
the prophet Samuel, but that the devil, who transforms himself into 
an angel of light, is considered in the phantastic form of Samuel. 
This appears from his discourse, since he tells Saul, who was an 
execrable man, * Thou and thy sons shall be with me. Surely, if 
it had been the true Samuel who was here exhibited, he would 
never have said that this unjust king would be a participator of his 
reward after death 1 ." And most plainly in his book of Questions 
on the old and new Testaments, in the seven and twentieth 
question, he determines thus : " I deem it a most unworthy act 
to repose belief in this narrative in the strict literal sense of it. 
For how is it possible that a man holy in his birth and righteous 
in his actions when alive should be dragged up by magic arts ? or, 
if not dragged up, should have consented to them ? Either alter 
native we can not without absurdity believe of a just man 2 ." To 
say that the soul of the holy prophet was troubled by the spells of 
witches, even Isidore himself detests as impious, as we see in Gra- 
tian (26 qusest. 5. cap. Nee. Mirum.); and he says that this was 
" a piece of Satan s jugglery 3 ." Augustine too, in his book de 
Cura pro Mortuis (c. 15. 4 ), bears witness that many thought that it 

rerum nominibus appellari quarum imagines sunt .... JSTon mirum est quod 
Bcriptura dicit Samuelem visum, etiam si forte imago Samuelis apparuit ma- 
chinamento ejus qui transfigurat se velut angelum lucis, et ministros suos 
velut ministros justitise The treatise De vm. Dulcitii qusestionibus is the 
fourth piece in T. vi. of the Benedictine edition, Paris, 1679.] 

[ l Unde non hunc esse Samuelem ilium Prophetam per factum facilius 
intelligitur, sed diabolus qui se transfert in angelum lucis, in phantasia 
Samuelis consideretur. Quod ex sermoiiibus ejus recte dignoscitur, quoniam 
funesto Sauli dicebat, Tu et filii tui mecum eritis. Etenim si verus hie 
Samuel ostensus esset, nullo modo iniquum regem consortem sui merit! post 
mortem diceret. This spurious work is to be found in the Appendix to Part 
I. of T. in. of the Benedictine edition. The author is supposed to have been 
an Irish monk, named Augustine.] 

[ 2 Indignum facinus sestimo, si secundum verba historise commendetur 
assensus. Quomodo enim fieri potuerat, ut arte magica attraheretur vir et 
nativitate sanctus et vita? operibus Justus ? aut, si non attractus est, consensit ? 
quod utrumque de viro justo credere absurdum est. This is also a spurious 
piece ; it is the third in the Appendix referred to in the last note.] 

[3 Porro autem hoc est pra3stigium Satanse. Decreti Pars Secund. Caus. 
26. Qusest. 5. c. 14.] 

[ 4 It is the nineteenth piece in Tom. vi. of the Benedictine edition.] 


was not Samuel himself, but an evil spirit. And concerning the 
book of Ecclesiasticus his expression is 5 : " But if this book bo 
objected to on account of the Hebrew canon which does not give 
it a place, what, shall we say of Moses ?" He concedes therefore 
that this book is open to objections. So Aquinas (i. p. 89. 4. 8. 
Art. ad 2 m .) gives three answers to this place : 1. That Samuel 
appeared by a divine revelation. 2. Or, that the apparition was 
produced by demons. 3. Or, that the authority of Ecclesiasticus 
must not be admitted by reason that it is not esteemed by the 
Hebrews a portion of the canonical scriptures. 



BESIDES those common pleas, upon which we have already 
said enough and answered sufficiently, our opponents adduce two 
arguments to establish the authority of these books. The first is, 
that they are placed by Clement in the canon of sacred scripture, 
as appears in the last of the apostolic canons. The second is the 
testimony of Augustine, in his City of God, (Lib. xvm. c. 36), which 
is to this effect : " These books not the Jews, but the Church hold 
to be canonical 6 ." A similar testimony is found also in his second 
book against the Epistles of Gaudentius, cap. 23 7 . Hence they 
conclude that these books are truly and properly canonical. I 
proceed to return a brief answer to both allegations. 

To the former I reply, in the first place, that we have already 
shewn what should be thought of that book of apostolic canons, and 
have stripped it of the name and authority of the apostles 8 . In 
the second place, I am surprised that Bellarmine should choose to 
avail himself of such a witness, whose evidence he must know 

[5 Sed si liuic libro ex Hebrseorum, quia in eo non est, canone contra- 
dicitur, quid dc Mosc dicturi sumus? Id. ibid.] 

[ 6 The whole passage upon which Whitaker reasons in his reply is as 
follows : Ab hoc tempore apud Judseos restituto templo non reges sed prin- 
cipes fuerunt, usque ad Aristobulum : quorum supputatio temporum non in 
scripturis sanctis, quse canonicse appellantur, sed in aliis invenitur ; in quibus 
sunt et Machabeorum libri ; quos non Judcei, sed ecclesia pro canonicis habet 
propter quorundam martyrum passiones vehernentes atque mirabiles.] 

[? It is the last piece in T. ix. of the Benedictine edition, where this 
passage stands. Lib. I. 38. p. 655.] [ 8 Supra, p. 42.] 


very well to make much more against the cause which he defends 
than it weighs in favour of these particular books. For, except 
these books of Maccabees, that apostolical canon recites none of 
all those pieces which our churches hold apocryphal, amongst the 
canonical books of the old Testament. If, therefore, this aposto 
lical canon hath made these books canonical, it hath certainly left 
the rest in the class of apocryphal and spurious. Let the papists 
consider, whether they would choose that these books should be 
received on condition that all the others be excluded. Besides, in 
this apostolical canon three books of Maccabees are recited, whereas 
the papists allow only two of them to be canonical 1 . If then 
they rely on the authority of these canons to prove the canonicity 
of two books, what are they to determine concerning the third? 
They must consequently give up the argument derived from these 
canons, and Bellarmine hath acted discreetly in omitting it in the 
edition published by Sartorius. 

I come now to the testimonies of Augustine. And, first, to the 
former from the City of God, Lib. xvm. c. 36. How Augustine 
calls these and the other books canonical, by a certain common 
use of that term in a loose sense, hath been already explained. 
The Jews did not hold these books canonical ; for they were of 
no account whatever amongst them. But the Christian church 
may be said to hold them canonical, forasmuch as they are read in 
the church, and held in some value, although they are not ad 
mitted to an equal authority and credit with the rest. This we 
may learn from Augustine himself, who writes thus in that very 
same passage : " The calculation of which times is not to be found 
in the sacred scriptures which are called canonical, but in others, 
amongst which are also the books of Maccabees." Then follow the 
words upon which the argument is founded. Now in these words 
of Augustine two things present themselves which deserve notice. 
The first, that these books are not, in truth and fact, sacred and 
canonical. The other, that they are nevertheless held canonical 
in the church, that is, read publicly, set forth, and esteemed of 
great value in the church. Augustine subjoins the reason when 
he says, "on account of the violent and admirable sufferings of 
certain martyrs." Does he not in these words sufficiently shew 
that Christians were led to ascribe so much importance to these 
books on this account, because in them mention was made of cer- 

[* There is some reason for believing the words MaKKaflatav rpia to be an 
interpolation. See Cosin s Scholast. Hist. p. 30. Beverege s Annotations, 
pp. 5, 39, and Gibbings s Roman Forgeries, pp. 113, 114.] 


tain martyrs who fell in the cause of religion with the utmost 
fortitude and constancy? On this account Nazianzen hath pro 
nounced a most beautiful panegyric upon that mother and her 
seven sons 2 . But in what sense can it be said that a book is 
held canonical on account of this or that ? For a book which 
is truly canonical is to be received absolutely and entirely, not on 
account of this or that part or reason. Augustine says, in the City 
of God, Lib. i. c. 20 : " Nor is it in vain, that nowhere in the 
sacred canonical scriptures do we find any divine precept or per 
mission to take away our own lives 3 ." In these books if not a 
precept, at least a permission for a man to take his own life, is 
to be detected. For in 1 Mace. chap. vi. Eleasar is praised for 
voluntarily rushing upon death. And in 2 Mace. chap, xiv., the 
fortitude of Razis is commended, who laid violent hands upon 
himself. Yet Razis deserved no praise for his fortitude. For 
this was to die cowardly rather than courageously, to put him 
self voluntarily to death in order to escape from the hands of a 
tyrant. The Holy Spirit judges not of valour by the same mea 
sures as profane men, who extol Cato to the skies for committing 
suicide lest he should fall into the power and hands of Caesar : 
for he either feared, or could not bear to see him, or sought to 
catch renown by an act of such prodigious horror. Thus he was 
crushed and extinguished either by despair, or grief, or some other 
perturbation of mind ; any of which motives are foreign from true 
fortitude. Rightly, therefore, did Augustine deny those books to 
be canonical, in which such a crime is narrated with some com 
mendation by the authors. 

The second testimony of Augustine occurs Lib. n. c. 23 ; 
where also Augustine opposes our adversaries more than he favours 
them. For he requires that " the book should be read and heard 
with sobriety." Say you so ? What, I pray, do these words mean, 
" not unprofitably, if done soberly?" Is there ground to fear that 
scripture may be read unprofitably ? And what is this sobriety 
which he demands in the perusal of these books ? Every thing, 
indeed, should be read soberly ; no one doubts that ; and rash 
ness should always be avoided. But if Augustine had meant that 
sobriety which is everywhere required in all scriptures, he would 
not have peculiarly prescribed that caution to the readers of this 

[2 Inter Opp. Gregorii Nazianzen. T. i. p. 397. Colon. 1690.] 
[ 3 Neque enim frustra in sanctis canonicis libris nusquam nobis divinitus 
prseccptum permissumve reperitur, ut nobismet ipsis necem inferamus.] 


book. The meaning, therefore, is, that there are some things in 
the book which, if they be examined by the strict rule of faith, 
cannot be defended, and therefore are not fit models for imitation ; 
and that consequently the book requires to be read soberly. This 
is moreover to be noted, that Augustine writes in that same place, 
that Christ does not bear testimony to these books as his witnesses ; 
which sufficiently shews that Augustine did not deem these books 
truly canonical. 

These matters being thus explained, let us now adduce our ar 
guments against the authority of these books. 

First, Jerome, in his catalogue of illustrious men 1 , and in his 
second book against Pelagius 2 , says that Josephus was the author 
of these books. Now Josephus was no prophet, and lived after 
Christ and beyond the limits of the old Testament; for which 
reasons he could not have written any book belonging to the 
canon of the old Testament. Others, although they do not think 
Josephus the author of these books, yet allow that the chronology 
in them was supplied by Josephus ; in consequence of which the 
books became apocryphal, because the dates in these books do 
not agree. So the popish writer Annius 3 delivers his opinion, 
upon the Second book of Philo s Chronology. 

Secondly, these books are expressly styled apocryphal by 
Gregory the Great, who was Pope of Rome, in his Morals, Lib. xix. 
c. 16. These are his words : " We shall not transgress the due 
bounds of order, if we produce a testimony upon this subject from 
books, not indeed canonical, yet set forth for the edification of the 
Church 4 ." Then he cites a passage from the Maccabees. There 
fore, before Gregory, that is, within six hundred years after Christ, 
the Church did not esteem the Books of Maccabees canonical. 

[* Alius quoque liber ejus, qui inscribitur irepl avroKparopos Ao-yioyxo{5, 
valdc elegans habetur, in quo et Machabseorum sunt digesta martyria. Cap. 
xm. Opp. T. n. 837.] 

[ 2 Unde et Josephus, Machabseorum scriptor historise, frangi et regi posse 
dixit perturbationes animse, non eradieari. Ibid. 735. ^-The reader must bo 
reminded, that neither this, nor the preceding passage, mean anything like 
what Whitaker supposes ; the piece attributed to Josephus being, not the 
books of Maccabees commonly so called, but a discourse or oration on the 
Maccabees, which may be found in his works.] 

[ 3 Josephus tempora adjiciens apocryphas reddidit. Annii Viteberg. 
Antiquitt. ap. Ascenscium. 1512. Fol. ci.] 

[ 4 De qua re non inordinate agimus, si ex libris non canonicis, sed tamen 
ad sedificationem ecclesise editis, testimonium proferamus.] 


Hence we see clearly what we should think of pope Innocent and 
Augustine. They call these books canonical ; Gregory denies them 
to be such. They and he, therefore, without doubt used that term 
in different senses. The same judgment on these books is passed 
by Eusebius (Lib. de Temp.) 5 , Richard of S. Victor. (Except. Lib. n. 
c. 9) 6 , and Occam (3 Part. Dial. Tract, i. Lib. in. c. 16) 7 . 

Thirdly, in 2 Mace. chap, xii., Judas MaccabsBus is praised for 
offering sacrifice for the dead. Whereas he really deserved no praise 
on that account, since God had commanded the making of no such 
sacrifice. Now, whatever is done in religious service without divine 
precept, is displeasing to God, and deserves not praise, but blame ; and 
all sorts of will-worship were ever condemned in scripture. But upon 
this whole matter and argument we shall have to speak hereafter. 

Fourthly, that sacrifice was offered for men who had brought 
themselves under the guilt and pollution of idolatry and sacrilege, 
and had perished in that crime, as we read in the twelfth chapter. 
For the soldiers of Judas had plundered some things consecrated 
to the Jamnite idols, and had hidden these offerings under their 
clothes ; which, when they were slain, were discovered under their 
vesture. And this author says it was a clear case that they had 
fallen on account of that crime. Now the papists themselves allow 
that no sacrifice should be offered for persons guilty of such idolatry 
and sacrilege : for this was a mortal sin ; and they tell us them 
selves that for those who are certainly in mortal sin, as the author 
affirms these men to have been, no sacrifice should be made. For 
as to the pretence which Bellarmine has borrowed from Lyra, 
that Judas piously supposed that they had repented of their sin in 
the very article of death not to mention that it rests wholly upon 
a dim surmise, yet, however probable it may have been that they 
had grieved in death for their offence, a public sacrifice should 
never have been offered for persons of this sort, who had polluted 
themselves with idolatry, unless there were certain proof of their 
true repentance^ 

[ 3 Machabseorum Historia hinc supputat regnum Grsecorum. Verum hi 
libri inter divinas scripturas non recipiuntur. P. 348, ed. Majo. et Zohrab. 
Mediol. 1818.] 

[ 6 Alii non habentur in canone, tamen leguntur. Hi sunt Libri 

Machabseorum. Deinde sanctorum patrum scripta, &c. Opp. Ven. 1592. 
p. 331.] 

[* Secundum Hieronymum .... Libri .... Machabseorum .... non sunt 
recipiendi ad confirmandum aliquid in fide. Dialog. Guil. Ockam. Lugd. 
1495. Fol. ccxii. 2.] 



Fifthly, the Holy Spirit is not accustomed to epitomize the 
history of a profane author. But the Second Book of Maccabees, 
as we read in chap, ii., is a contraction of the five volumes of Jason 
of Cyrene, comprising in one little book what Jason had minutely 
detailed in five. Who that Jason was is uncertain. A prophet he 
was not : that no one ever said, or could say. Consequently this 
synopsis of Jason s history, composed in such a manner, cannot be 
counted part of the canonical scriptures. 

Sixthly, in 2 Mace. chap. ii. we have a long narrative about the 
sacred fire, the ark, the tabernacle, and the altar, which are said 
there to have been hidden in a certain mountain and laid up by 
Jeremiah. Now there is not a word of all this in Jeremiah himself. 
And this author adds, that God had promised that he would shew 
them, when he had collected the people. But, after the Babylonian 
captivity, the Jews neither had nor found that ark, that tabernacle, 
nor that altar, nor did God, after that event, shew these things to 
any one. The papists object, that this is not to be understood of 
the return under Cyrus, when that remnant of the Jews was col 
lected, but of the advent of Christ, when the whole people shall be 
collected, or of the conversion of the Jews a little before the end 
of the world. But this is an utterly vain conjecture. For what 
reason is there why these things should be shewn to the Jews at 
such a period ? Or who does not feel the absurdity of so ridiculous 
a figment ? However, if we consult the sacred history, we shall 
find that this which is told of Jeremiah is contrary to the truth of 
facts. For Jeremiah was in prison until the destruction of the city. 
Jer. chaps, xxxvii. and xxxviii. : so that he could not take these 
things away and hide them, while the city and temple stood ; nor 
would the priests and princes have permitted it. But, after the 
taking of the city, the Chaldeans fire the temple, plunder all its 
valuables, whether gold, or silver, or brass, and carry them off with 
themselves, as we read 2 Kings xxv., and in the last chapter of 
Jeremiah. Jeremiah, therefore, had no opportunity of taking away 
the ark of the Lord, and the altar of incense, which were overlaid 
and covered entirely within and without with pure gold, Exod. xxv. 
11. Besides, where are those records of Jeremiah to be found, 
which are mentioned in the beginning of this chapter ? 

Seventhly, there are many things in these books irreconcileable 
and contradictory, such as the following examples which I shall 
proceed to specify. In the first place, these books are not agreed 
about the death of Antiochus Epiphanes, who was a most bitter enemy 


of the Jews. For in 1 Mace. vi. 8 and 16, Antiochus is said to 
have died of mental anguish upon the receipt of evil tidings, and to 
have died at Babylon in his bed; at which time also he gave his 
son in charge to Philip, whom he set over the kingdom. But in 
2 Mace. i. 16, he is beheaded and cut in pieces in the temple of 
Nana3a. So that we have now been told of two deaths of An 
tiochus, since the manner of dying on these two occasions is different. 
But this author tells us further of a third death of the same man 
Antiochus, 2 Mace. chap, ix ; where he writes that he died far away 
in the mountains of an internal pain in the bowels, out of which 
worms were seen to crawl, and a horrible stench issued through 
almost the whole army. One man could not have died so many 
and such different deaths. The papists however set up some pre 
tences. Canus says (Lib. n. cap. 11 ad quartum) that it is not the 
same Antiochus. But the history itself refutes him at once ; and 
Bellarmine was compelled to allow that the person meant was one 
and the same. He endeavours to reconcile the accounts thus : 
Antiochus lost his army in the temple of Nana3a, on the road he 
fell from his chariot, afterwards he was carried to Babylon and 
breathed his last. They confess therefore that Antiochus died at 
Babylon, as is related in the first book : and, indeed, the first book 
deserves more credit than the second. Now read what is related 
in the second book concerning the death of Antiochus in the places 
already cited. In chap. i. we read, that the leader himself was 
stoned by the priests, and cut in pieces, and his head thrown out 
to those who were outside. Now this leader is called Antiochus. 
Antiochus, therefore, perished in this temple, unless a man who 
hath been stoned, and cut to pieces, and beheaded, can escape alive. 
Let us now go on to chap. ix. There we shall find that this 
murderer and blasphemer, whilst in a transport of fury he was 
marching from Persia towards Jerusalem, in a remote and moun 
tainous region exchanged a miserable life for a deplorable death. 
If he died at Babylon, he did not die in the country, nor in a 
mountainous region. Nor can both narratives possibly be true. 

In the next place, Judas is said, 1 Mace. ix. 3, to have been 
slain in the year 152 of the reign of the Seleucida3. But in 2 
Mace. i. 10 he writes in the year 188 1 letters to Aristobulus the 
master of Ptolemy, that is, 36 years after his death. 

I 1 In the common text indeed the date stands thus : but one of Mr Par 
son s MSS. reads Teo-o-apaKoo-rov for oySoT/Kooroi). The difference is very 
slight between par) and prf : and the latter doubtless is the true reading. 



In the third place, Judas is said, 1 Mace. iv. 36, to have purified 
the temple before the death of Antiochus, after Lysias had been 
routed. But in 2 Mace, at the commencement of chap. x. this 
purification of the temple is said to have been made after the 
death of Antiochus. For it is the same purification, as our adver 
saries allow. 

In the fourth place, according to 2 Mace, x., Antiochus 
Eupator, the son of Epiphanes, upon his accession to the throne, 
confided the administration of affairs to Lysias. But, according to 
1 Mace, vi., Lysias was long before in charge of that administration, 
and educated king Antiochus, and gave him the name of Eupator. 

Eighthly, the second book shews that it is written by a human 
spirit. For, in the first place, at the end of the book the author 
begs pardon of his readers, which is altogether alien from the Holy 
Ghost ; since he always writes the truth, and writes it as it ought 
to be written, erring neither in the matter nor in the manner, and 
standing in no need of our indulgence. 

They object that Paul used a similar excuse, when he con 
fesses himself to have been "rude in speech," 2 Cor. xi. 6. I 
reply : Paul never excused himself for writing poorly or slen 
derly, or accomplishing less than he proposed. But this author 
acknowledges the poorness and slenderness of his composition ; and 
therefore, impelled by the sense of his own weakness, could not 
help imploring the humane indulgence of his readers. Paul never 
did this, nor any prophet or apostle. For, as to Paul s calling 
himself rude in speech, (iSuoriyv \oyw), it is spoken in the sense 
and style of the false apostles, who, puffed up with a certain empty 
shew of eloquence, despised the apostle as rude and unskilful in 
discourse. In those words, therefore, he did not describe himself 
such as he really was, but such as he was represented by certain 
false apostles. For the apostle was lacking in no commendable 
part of true, simple, holy and divine eloquence, fit for so great a 

For had the letter been written after 170, it would have been dated from the 
era of Liberty, 1 Mace. xiii. 14. Still the difficulty remains, how an event 
could be spoken of as passed in 148, which the first book of Maccabees 
(vi. 14) tells us did not occur till 149. But Basnage (Hist, of the Jews, B. n. 
c. 1. 20) long ago observed, that the years are counted differently in the 
two books of Maccabees. The first, following the Jewish mode, begins the 
year in March: the second in September. Thus the first makes Eupator 
declare war in 150, while the second dates the same event in 149. I wonder 
that Valckenaer did not remember this. See his dissertation de Aristobulo 
Judceo, pp. 40, 41.] 


teacher and apostle : but, because these pretenders called him 
i^iMTqv \6yw, he acknowledges that, in their way of thinking, and 
judged by their model and standard, he was an iSicorrjs. For this 
is that eloquence which he calls "wisdom of words" (o-ocpiav 
\oyov), 1 Cor. i. 17, and " words which man s wisdom teacheth" 
(SiSctKTOvs avOpwTrivrjs cro0/a9 \6yovs), 1 Cor. ii. 13, and " excel 
lency of speech" (uTrepo^v \oyov), 1 Cor. ii. 1 ; and which St Peter 
calls " cunningly-devised fables" (aecrvcpia-fjievous fjivOous), 2 Pet. 
i. 16. So CEcumenius interprets the apostle : Aoyov \eyei TO 
eyyeyv/jii acrOai -rrj eXXyviKy vo(f)ia. "He means by speech the 
being exercised in the wisdom of the Greeks." To a similar 
purpose Aquinas upon that place : " Because the apostle pro 
posed the faith plainly and openly, therefore they said that he was 
rude in speech 1 ." So Lyra : " He says this to refute the saying 
of the false apostles, who despised his doctrine, because he spoke 
plainly and coarsely. Therefore he tells them that he did this 
not from lack of knowledge, but because, as times then were, it 
was not expedient for the Corinthians to have subtle questions 
preached to them 2 ." The same is the opinion concerning this 
place expressed by Catharinus archbishop of Campsa : " I do 
not think," says he, " that Paul confesses himself to have been 
really rude in speech, since he was an excellent preacher. But he 
seemed so to those according to whose opinions he is speaking, 
because his style had a spiritual simplicity, and was not redolent 
of their secular and affected eloquence 3 ." For what Canus says, 
(Lib. n. c. 11, on the fourth head,) " There is no reason why 
the Holy Ghost should not assist an author who yet speaks modestly 
in a human manner 4 ," is an insult to the Holy Spirit. The Holy 
Spirit ever teaches us modesty ; but meanwhile ever speaks and 

t 1 Apostolus proposuit eis fidem non in subtilitate sermonis, sed 

plane et aperte ; ideo isti dicebant eum imperitum esse sermone. In 2 Cor. xi. 
Lect. 2. Comm. p. 140. Ant. 1569.] 

[ 2 Hoc dicit ad repellendum dictum pseudapostolorum, qui contem- 
nebant ejus doctrinam, eo quod plana et grossa dicebat : ideo dicit, quod hoc 
non ex defectu scientise, sed quod non expediebat Corinthiis pro tune subtilia 
prsedicari. Biblia cum Gloss. Lyr. P. vi. p. 74. Lugd. 1520.] 

[ 3 Non puto Paulum se fateri esse imperitum sermone, cum esset prec- 
dicator eximius : sed ita illis videbatur ad quorum opinionem loquitur ; quia 
sermo ejus habebat simplicitatem spiritualem, et non secularem illam affec- 
tatam redolebat eloquentiam. Comm. in Paul. Epp. p. 232. Paris. 1566.] 

[ 4 Nihil impedit ut Spiritus Sanctus scriptori assistat, qui in quibusdam 
tamen, humano more, ex modestia loquitur.] 


writes in a way that cannot be excelled by any one possessed of a 
mere human spirit. 

In the second place, this author speaks of the labour of making 
this epitome as troublesome, and full of toil and difficulty, 2 Mace, 
ii. But nothing is so difficult as to give any trouble to the Holy 
Spirit : for the Holy Spirit is God, and labours under no human 
weakness, and possesses infinite wisdom and power. Bellarmine, 
indeed, objects, that, although God ever assists all the sacred 
writers, yet the mode is different in the case of the historians from 
what it is in the case of the prophets. The prophets had no other 
trouble than that of dictating or writing, since God inspired them 
with a knowledge of all that they were to write or dictate ; as we 
read of Baruch writing things down from the lips of Jeremiah. 
But the historians underwent much labour in searching and 
thoroughly examining their subject, as Luke declares of himself, 
chap. i. 3. I confess, in reply to this, that those who published 
histories used diligence and industry : for the Holy Spirit does 
not make men lazy, or slothful, or negligent. So Luke thoroughly 
investigated, and knew accurately, and wrote most truly, all things 
pertaining to his subject. But I absolutely deny that this writing 
was troublesome or difficult to Luke, because nothing can be 
troublesome to the Holy Spirit ; and Luke, when he wrote his 
narrative, had the Holy Spirit as much as John when he wrote the 
Apocalypse. " The Holy Ghost," as Ambrose says, " knows 
nothing of slow efforts 1 ." Besides, how could the task of making 
a short epitome of five books by Jason of Cyrene have been so 
troublesome to the writers of the Maccabaean history ? Certainly 
it is very easy to take out of another work what we choose, and 
to omit what we choose not. The mind, the spirit, the genius, the 
confession, the history are here all human. 



WE have now spoken of those apocryphal books of the old 
Testament, which the papists maintain to be canonical, and have 
shewn them to be truly apocryphal. It remains now that we 

[ l Vide supra, p. 38.] 



come to those apocryphal pieces of the old Testament which 
are judged apocryphal by the papists themselves. Concerning 
these there is no dispute between us and them. Nevertheless, I 
will give a brief enumeration of them, so as to let you understand 
what and of what sort they are. They are these : The third 
and fourth books of Esdras : the third and fourth of Macca 
bees ; whereof the third is found in some copies of the Bible, and 
the fourth is mentioned by Athanasius in his Synopsis. To these 
must be added the prayer of Manasseh, which is set after the 
books of Chronicles : the 151st Psalm : the Appendix to the 
book of Job in the Greek copies. There is also a little preface to 
the Lamentations of Jeremiah, which is apocryphal. All these 
are conceded to be apocryphal parts of the old Testament, because 
not found in the Hebrew text, nor reckoned in the canon by any 
council or pope. The third book of Maccabees, however, is 
counted in the canon by Clement 2 , whom some suppose to have 
collected the canons of the apostles, and who was a sovereign 
pontiff; upon which difficulty they know not what to say. 

The fourth book of Esdras, chap, vi., contains some fables 
about the two fishes, Enoch and Leviathan, which are pretended to 
be of such vast and prodigious magnitude, that no waters can contain 
them. There are many things of the like stamp in these books, 
fit to please and feed human curiosity, but discordant from all 
sound and solid instruction. Such is the fiction in chap, iv., that 
the souls of the righteous are kept in certain subterranean cells 
until the number of the righteous shall be complete, and that then 
they will no longer be able to retain them, even as the womb 
cannot hold the foetus beyond the ninth month. Such also is the 
story, chap, xiv, that the sacred books were lost in the captivity, 
and restored to their integrity by Ezra, after a retirement of forty 
days. For if these books had been lost, and written anew by 
Ezra, their language would be Chaldee, and not Hebrew ; upon 
which point we shall speak hereafter. But these are false and 
incredible figments, rejected even by the papists, who yet generally 
are wont to entertain such fables with wonder and veneration. 
Indeed Genebrard, in his Chronology (anno mundi 3749), calls both 
these books canonical ; which may well excite astonishment, as being 
not only repugnant to right reason and the common opinion of the 
doctors, but also made in contradiction to the authority of the 
council of Trent. Genebrard, however, builds his cause upon the 
[ 2 Vide supra, p. 94.] 


same reasons by which Bellarmine, as noticed above, seeks to prove 
the canonicity of Tobit, Wisdom, and the rest. Genebrard shews 
that these books are cited by ancient fathers, and that the Church 
is wont to read portions of them upon her sacred anniversaries. 
All this is perfectly true, since in the third week of Pentecost, and 
the commemorations of Martyrs, lessons are taken from the fourth 
of Esdras. Therefore either this argument, which Bellarmine hath 
hitherto used so often, does not prove the matter proposed, or these 
books of Esdras must come in as canonical on the same plea : which 
yet the Jesuits would be so far from granting, that they would 
oppose it as grossly erroneous. However Genebrard does not 
stand alone in this mistake. For John Benedictus also, in the be 
ginning of his bible, places the third and fourth of Esdras in the 
number of those books which, although not contained in the Hebrew 
canon, are yet received by the Christian Church. In like manner 
Eenatus Benedictus in his Stromata Biblica, Lib. i. c. 9, counts 
the third and fourth of Esdras among the canonical books. 

The prayer of Manasseh is extant neither in Hebrew, nor in 
Greek ; and although it seems pious, yet I cannot understand how 
that passage can be defended where he says, " Thou hast not ap 
pointed repentance to the just, as to Abraham, and Isaac, and 
Jacob, which have not sinned against thee ;" unless we suppose, 
indeed, that this is only said comparatively. For they too had 
sinned, and stood in need of repentance. 

Psalm cli. is found in the Greek, but not in the Hebrew copies. 
It contains thanks to God for the victory over Goliah, and was 
translated by Apollinarius in his Metaphrase 1 . However it was 
always esteemed apocryphal. The appendix to the Book of Job 2 
is condemned by Jerome, as translated only out of the Syriac 
tongue, and not found in the Hebrew, and because Job is there 
said to have been the fourth from Esau, whereas he was of the 
race of Uz, who was the son of Nahor. So Jerome in his Questions 
and traditions upon Genesis 3 . In his Epistle to Evagrius, however, 
(Qua3st. 126) he says that Job was more probably descended from 
Esau, yet affirms that the Hebrews think otherwise. 

All these the papists allow to be apocryphal ; and they may as 
well add to them what we esteem apocryphal also. For the argu 
ments, as you have already seen, are no less valid against the latter 
than against the former. Hence too it appears evidently, that it is 

t 1 Fabricius, Cod. Pseud. V. T. T. n. p. 907.] 

[ 2 Ibid. p. 793.] [ 3 Hieronym. Opp. T. in. p. 339.] 


not everything that is read in the Latin bibles that can claim canon 
ical authority, since many apocryphal pieces are found there. But 
from this it arose that the apocrypha, being bound into one volume 
with the canonical scriptures, obtained by degrees more and more 
credit and authority, and at last were esteemed even canonical 



IT follows that, in the next place, we should speak of the books 
of the new Testament. But I will omit this portion of the subject, 
inasmuch as it involves no controversy between us and the papists. 
For we acknowledge without any exception those same books as 
they judge to be canonical. Those books of the new Testament 
which the council of Trent hath enumerated, those all, and those 
only, our church receives. If Luther, or some of Luther s followers, 
have thought or written otherwise concerning some of them, as the 
Epistle of James or that of Jude, or some other pieces, they must 
answer for themselves : their opinions are no concern of ours, nor 
is it incumbent upon us to defend them, since we are, in this 
respect, no followers of Luther, and submit to the direction of 
better reason. However the persons just mentioned can produce 
in their behalf the judgment and example of the ancient Christian 
Church and of certain fathers. For it is sufficiently known, that in 
old times some Christian churches and fathers, distinguished for their 
piety and their learning, removed from the canon all those books 
which Luther called in question. There is, therefore, no just cause 
why our adversaries should inveigh so vehemently and with such 
acrimony against Luther on this account, since he hath erred no 
more in this respect than several catholic churches and some holy 
fathers formerly, and even some very distinguished papists at the 
present day. Cajetan openly rejects all the following : the 
Epistle of James, the second of Peter, the second and third of 
John, the Epistle of Jude, the Epistle to the Hebrews (which 
Luther certainly never disputed), the history of the woman taken 
in adultery, John viii., the last chapter of Mark, and throughout 
the gospels and other books several passages about which it never 
entered into the mind of Luther to entertain a doubt. However 


all who doubted about some canonical book were not, in former 
times, therefore reputed heretics. But I will not pursue this 
subject farther, since it hath no connexion with our cause. Let 
them attack others, but not from henceforth molest us. 

Thus, then, we doubt not of the authority of any book of the 
new Testament, nor indeed of the author of any, save only the 
Epistle to the Hebrews. That this epistle is canonical, we all 
concede in the fullest sense ; but it is not equally clear that 
it was written by the apostle Paul. Some judge it to be Paul s, 
others think otherwise. This was a questionable point in the 
earliest period of the Church. Eusebius (Lib. HI. c. 3) writes 1 
that the church of Rome denied this Epistle to be Paul s; but 
now that church hath changed its opinion, and attributes the 
authorship to Paul. Jerome, in his Catalogue under the Article 
PAUL, hath these words : " The Epistle called that to the He 
brews is not thought to be his, on account of the difference 
of the style and diction 2 ." He writes to the same effect in his 
Epistle to Paulinus, and upon the 13th chapter of Jeremiah. 
Tertullian ascribes it to Barnabas 3 . Some to Luke the Evangelist, 
as Jerome testifies. So Caius, an ancient and learned writer, 
enumerates no more than thirteen epistles of Paul, as Jerome tells 
us in the Catalogue. " In the same volume," says he, " enume 
rating only thirteen epistles of Paul, he says that the fourteenth, 
which is inscribed to the Hebrews, is not his. Yea, and amongst 
the Romans, even to this day, it is not looked upon as the work 
of the Apostle Paul 4 ." Eusebius also hath mentioned this Caius, 
Lib. vi. c. 16. Hence it appears clearly, that many in former 
times thought this epistle not to have been written by Paul. 

But now, if I were to seek to mention all who attribute this 
epistle to the apostle Paul, I should never find an end. Jerome, 
in his epistle to Dardanus, says, that almost all the Greek authors 
affirm it to be Paul s 5 ; and of this mind is Origen (in Eusebius, 
Lib. vi. c. 18), Clemens Alexandrinus (in Eusebius, Lib. vi. c. 11), 

[* on ye p.r)V rives ijQfTiJKao-i rrjv Trpos E/3pa/oi>s, TTpos rrjs Pco/LtaiW eKK\rj- 
<rias cos ^ TlavXov ovcrav avrr^v avriXeyca-Qai <frr)cravTS, ov diKaiov ayvofiv. 
Eccl. Hist. T. i. pp. 189, 190. ed. Heinrich.] 

[ 2 Epistola quse fertur ad Hebrseos non ejus creditur, propter styli ser- 
monisque dissonantiam. Opp. T. n. p. 823.] 

[ 3 De Pudicitia. c. 20. Extat enim et Barnabse titulus ad Hebrseos.] 

[ 4 Et in eodem volumine epistolas quoque Pauli tredecim tantum enume- 
rans, decimam quartam, quse fertur ad Hebrseos, dicit ejus non esse. Sed 
et apud Romanos usque hodie quasi Pauli Apostoli non habetur. c. 59. 
T. II. p. 886.] [ 5 T. n. p. 608, alias Ep. 129.] 


Eusebius himself (Lib. n. c. 3), the council of Laodicea (c. 59) 6 , 
Athanasius, in the Synopsis and elsewhere, Irenseus 7 , Cyril 
(Thesaur. Lib. xn. c. 9), Chrysostom upon the epistle, and Na- 
zianzen in many places. Theophylact wonders at the impudence 
of those who deny it. Damascene cites a testimony from it as a 
work of Paul s 8 . Even the more celebrated of the Latins hold the 
same language. Augustine, de Doctr. Christ. Lib. n. c. 8, and 
many other places. Ambrose wrote commentaries upon this, as 
one of Paul s epistles, and calls it a work of Paul s, in commenting 
upon Psalm cxix. 9 So also Gregory the Great, Moral. Lib. v. 
cap. 3. And the apostle Peter seems to testify that this is an 
epistle of Paul s, in these words, 2 Pet. iii. 15, " As our brother 
Paul hath written to you." Now they were Hebrews : for it was 
to Hebrews that Peter wrote, as is plain from the inscription of 
his first epistle ; and it was to the same persons that the second 
also was sent, since he says, " This second epistle I now write unto 
you." ch. iii. 1. 

This, however, I leave to the judgment of the reader, with 
out determining anything absolutely one way or other. I know 
that some allege reasons to shew that this cannot possibly be an 
epistle of Paul s. But I perceive that these have been opposed 
and refuted by others, as Illyricus, Hyperius, &c. We need not 
be very earnest in this debate. It is not a matter of necessity, 
and the question may well be left in doubt, provided that, in the 
meanwhile, the authority of the epistle be allowed to remain clear 
and uncontested. Jerome, in his epistle to Dardanus, hath sagely 
reminded us, that it makes no great matter whose it is, " since it 
is certainly the work of an ecclesiastical man, and is continually 
used every day in the reading of the churches 10 ." Gregory, in 
like manner, wrote excellently well of the author of the book of Job, 
when, in the preface to his commentary upon that book, cap. 10, 
he answers the inquiries put to him upon that subject : " Who 
wrote these things, it is superfluous to ask, if only we believe 
faithfully that the Holy Spirit was the author of the book. He 
himself, therefore, wrote these things, since he dictated them to be 

[6 Mansi, T. n. p. 574.] 

[1 It seems a mistake to say that Irenseus cites this epistle as Paul s. 
Stephen Gobar (apud Photium cod. ccxxn. p. 904) affirms the contrary.] 

[ 8 De fide Orthodox. Lib. iv. c. 17. T. i. p. 283.] 

[ 9 See also in Job. Lib. xvn. c. 23, p. 546, E.] 

[ 10 Et nihil interesse cujus sit, quum ecclesiastic! viri sit, et quotidie eccle- 
siarum lectione celebretur. ut supra, p. 106. n. 5.] 


written. If we read the words in some letter which we had gotten 
from some great man, and raised the question, what pen they were 
written with ; it would surely be thought ridiculous that we should 
be curious not to know the author and understand his meaning, but 
discover what sort of pen it was with which their characters were 
traced 1 ." Since, then, we perceive that the Holy Ghost is the 
author of this epistle, it is superfluous to inquire so anxiously 
and curiously about the pen, and rash to affirm anything without 
certain evidence. 

Apocryphal, by the confession and in the opinion of all, are 
those numerous spurious gospels under the names of Thomas, 
Andrew, Nicodemus, the JSazarenes, &c., whereof we read in Gra- 
tian, Dist. 15. c. Sancta Romana. These are not now extant, 
although they were formerly read and highly esteemed by many. 
But the Lord provided for his church that, while the true gospels 
were constantly preserved, those fictitious ones should perish utterly. 
Besides, that piece which goes about under the title of the Epistle 
to the Laodiceans, is likewise apocryphal ; of which Jerome writes 
in the catalogue under the article PAUL : " Some read the epistle to 
the Laodiceans, but it is universally exploded 2 ." And the fathers of 
the second Nicene council, Act. 6, say : " Amongst the epistles of 
the apostle there is one which goes under the title of that to the 
Laodiceans, which our fathers have rejected as spurious 3 ." I know 
not whence the notion of such an epistle originated, if it were not 
from the error and fault of the Latin version, Coloss. iv. 16. For 
the Vulgate reads there, et ilia quce est Laodicensium, as if there 
had been some epistle written to the Laodiceans by Paul. The 
Latin words are ambiguous, and may be understood in such a sense. 
But the Greek text immediately removes this suspicion, KOL TY\V e/c 
AaoSiKeias. Therefore this epistle which Paul here mentions, 
whatever it was, was not written to the Laodiceans, but from the 
Laodiceans; which all the Greek expositors have observed. 

[ x Quis hoc scripserit supervacanee quseritur, cum tamen auctor libri 
Spiritus Sanctus fideliter credatur. Ipse igitur hsec scripsit, qui hscc scri- 
benda dictavit. Si magni cujusdam viri susceptis epistolis legeremus verba, 
eaque quo calamo essent scripta qusereremus ; ridiculum profecto esset, si 
non epistolarum auctoritatem scire, sensumque cognoscere, sed quali calamo 
earum verba impressa fuerint, indagare studeremus. Opp. T. i. p. 7. Paris. 

[ 2 Legunt quidam ad Laodicenos, sed ab omnibus exploditur. T. n. p. 823.] 

[ 3 Kcu yap rov fltiov ATroo-rdAov Trpbs AaoSt/ceTs (pepcrai, TrXao-r?) CTTI(TTO\T) . . . 

TJV ol Trarepts r^w aTredo/a/Liacrcu/. Concil. Labb. et Cossart. T. VII. p. 475.] 


There is also a book of Hermas, called the Shepherd, which 
Jerome speaks of in the catalogue, under the article HERMAS. 
The papists concede this also to be apocryphal, yet so as to be 
capable of being made and adjudged to be canonical by the church. 
For so Stapleton writes of this book, Doctrinal. Princip. Lib. ix. cap. 
14, and he says as much of the Clementine Constitutions. Nor 
should this surprise us, since Gratian, upon the foot of a passage 
from Augustine (which, however, he hath most shamefully and 
foully corrupted), asserts that the decretal epistles are to be 
reckoned a part of the canonical scriptures, Dist. 19 4 . Which in 
tolerable falsification of this compiler Alphonsus de Castro (contra 
User. Lib. i. c. 2), and Andradius (Def. Trident. Lib. in.) acknow 
ledge and condemn. Yet there are still some papists who persist 
in the same impudent blasphemy. For one Alphonsus de Guerero 
adduces the evidence of this place to prove that the decretal epistles 
of the Roman pontiffs are equal to the sacred scriptures ; whose 
words stand as follows in the Thesaurus Christianas Religionis, cap. 
3. Num. 5 : " Also decretal epistles have the force of authority, 
and decretal epistles are reckoned part of the canonical scriptures 5 ." 
Also John Turrecremata, (de Ecclesia. Lib. iv. p. 2. c. 9), and Ca- 
jetan, in his book de Primatu Papce, make use of this corrupt place 
in Gratian to prove the authority and primacy of the Roman pon 
tiffs. Thus the volume of the new Testament will be augmented by 
a glorious accession, if all the decretal letters of the popes are to be 
counted amongst the sacred scriptures. But look yourselves at the 
passage in Augustine, de Doctr. Christ. Lib. n. c. 8, and see there 
the manifest ignorance or manifest fraud of Gratian. For Augus 
tine says not a word of decretal epistles, or Roman pontiffs, and the 
scope of the whole place is directed quite another way. 

But we have now finished the first question which we proposed 
concerning the canonical books. 

[ 4 c. vi. In Canonicls. Where the Roman editors, having cited the pas 
sage as it really stands in Augustine, very fairly add : "-Quse quidem B. 
Augustim sententia non ad decretales Romanorum pontificias, sed ad cano- 
nicas et sacras scripturas referenda est."] 

[ 5 Et decretales epistolce vim auctoritatis habent, et in canonicis scrip- 
turis decretales epistolee connumerantur, Ap. Roccaberti, Bibl. Max. Pontif. 
T. IT. p. 15. Romcc, 1698.] 






THE first point raised in our inquiry concerning the duty of 
searching the scriptures, as between us and the papists, hath now 
been sufficiently explained. For we have found what are the books 
of holy scripture which we are commanded to search, and have re 
jected the error of our adversaries, who seek to introduce certain 
apocryphal books into the canon. Wherein, indeed, no one can 
fail to perceive their manifest unreasonableness, and the utter hope 
lessness of their cause. For, in the first place, not content with 
those books which are truly canonical and inspired, those books 
in which the Lord hath desired us to seek his will, they add to this 
list of sacred pieces many others of a foreign and wholly hetero 
geneous character. Farther still, they cannot think that even 
with all this they have enough, but join to these scriptures even 
unwritten traditions also ; that so they may be enabled to prove 
by their spurious scriptures and traditions those dogmas of which 
they can find no vestige in the genuine scriptures. On the other 
hand, we have already shewn these books to be apocryphal, and I 
shall presently speak of their traditions in the proper place. Order 
requires that we should now proceed to the second question of our 
controversy, which contains two divisions. The first is concerning 
the authentic edition of the scriptures : the second, concerning the 
versions of scripture and sacred rites in the vulgar tongue. We 
shall handle each in its proper order. 

Rightly to understand the state of this question, we must re 
member what the council of Trent hath enjoined upon this subject ; 
which synod we read prescribing in the second decree of its fourth 


session, that " the old Latin vulgate edition should be held for 
authentic in public lectures, disputations, preachings, and expositions, 
and that no man shall dare or presume to reject it under any pre 
text whatsoever 1 ." Consequently, the point to be decided in this 
question is, whether this Latin version, commonly styled the vulgate, 
is the authentic edition of scripture, or not rather the Hebrew text 
in the old Testament, and the Greek in the new. Our opponents 
determine the Latin to be authentic, and so the council of Trent 
hath denned it. So Melchior Canus (Lib. n. c. 13) interprets 
this decree, and deduces from it four conclusions. The first is, 
that the old vulgate edition must be retained by the faithful in all 
points which pertain to faith and morals : the second, that all 
questions concerning faith or morals must be determined by this 
Latin edition : the third, that we must not in a disputation ap 
peal to the Hebrew or Greek copies : the fourth, that, in matters 
of faith or morals, the Latin copies are not to be corrected from the 
Hebrew or Greek. In like manner our countrymen the Rhemists, 
in the preface to their version of the new Testament, run out into a 
long panegyric upon this Latin edition, and contend for its superi 
ority not only to all other Latin versions, but even to the Greek 
itself which is the original and prototype. Lindanus, in the first 
book of his treatise de optima genere interpretandi, prefers the 
Latin edition to the Hebrew and Greek ; and Andradius (Defens. 
Trident. Lib. iv.) declares it intolerable that any one should be per 
mitted to despise the authority of that edition which is used by the 
church, or to appeal freely to the Hebrew and Greek. 

Although, therefore, our adversaries do not condemn the He 
brew and Greek originals, yet they conclude that not these 
originals, but the vulgate Latin edition is the authentic text of 
scripture. Our churches, on the contrary, determine that this 
Latin edition is very generally and miserably corrupt, is false 
and not authentic ; and that the Hebrew of the old Testament, 
and the Greek of the new, is the sincere and authentic scripture 
of God ; and that, consequently, all questions are to be deter 
mined by these originals, and versions only so far approved as 
they agree with these originals. Consequently, we and our ad 
versaries maintain opinions manifestly contradictory. 

[ l Sancrosancta synodus statuit et declarat, ut hsec ipsa vetus Vul- 

gata editio, qua? longo tot seculorum usu in ipsa- ecclesia probata est, in 
publicis lectionibus, disputationibus, pnedicationibus, et expositionibus pro 
authentica habeatur, et ut nemo illam rejicere quoyis prsetextu audeat vel 
prscsumat. p. 20. Lips. 1837.] 


It behoves me to proceed in this question in such a course 
as to say something, first, of the Hebrew edition of the old 
Testament ; secondly, of the Greek of the new ; thirdly, of this 
Latin vulgate itself. Upon this last point I shall shew that it 
is corrupt, and therefore to be corrected and judged of by the 
standard of the original text, which is, indeed, the grand hinge 
upon which this whole controversy turns. The former matters 
therefore I shall dispatch briefly, so as to come without delay 
to the main subject. 



THE Hebrew is the most ancient of all languages, and was that 
which alone prevailed in the world before the deluge and the erec 
tion of the Tower of Babel. For it was this that Adam used, and 
all men before the flood, as is manifest from the scriptures, and as 
the Fathers testify. So Augustine in his book de Mirabilibus 
Scripturce (cap. 9) : " Whereas, up to that time, the whole race of 
all men were of one language, he divided their tongues into different 
terms 1 ." And, in his City of God (Lib. xvi. c. 4): "Time was 
when all had one and the same language 2 ." This is likewise con 
firmed by that testimony of the Sybil, which Josephus hath set 
down, Antiquit. Lib. i. c. 6 : " When all men were of one lan 
guage, some of them built a high tower, as if they would thereby 
ascend to heaven ; but the gods sent storms of wind, and overthrew 
the tower, and gave every one his peculiar language 3 ." Which 

[! Cum ad illud tempus esset unius linguse cunctus populus, universorum 
lingulas in diversa verba divisit.] 

[ 2 Cum ergo in suis linguis istse gentes fuisse referantur, redit tamen ad 
illud tempus narrator, quando una lingua omnium fuit.] 

[3 HdvT(ov 6fj,o<pcdva>v ovT(t>v dv6p<o7TG)v, Trvpyov (0Kod6[j.r)(rdv rives v\lsr)\6- 
TCITOV, (os CTTI TOV ovpavov dvaj3r]cr6p.voi di avrov of de 6fo\ dvefj,ovs fTwrfp,- 
^avTs dverpe^dv TOV Trvpyov, KOI Idiav e/eaerrop (pavrjv cdaxav. Lib. I. C. 4. 
. 3. ed. Richter. Lips. 1826. The lines, as given by Opsopseus, are these : 

Kat jSouXovr dvaffiv els ovpavov daTepoevra, 
AvTiKa dQdvaTOL ...... > 


Sibyll. Orac. Lib. HI. p. 223. edit. Opsop. Paris. 1599.] 


testimony of that aged prophetess is not to be rejected, since it 
agrees with the scriptures. It was, therefore, no slight error of 
Philastrius (Ha3ret. c. 106) to contend that there were many lan 
guages from the beginning, and to stigmatize as heretical the opi 
nion that there was but one language before the building of Babel. 
For so the scripture tells us plainly, Gen. xi. 1 : " The whole earth 
was of one language and one speech." Now Augustine, in his City 
of God (Lib. xvi. c. 11) tells us, that this common language re 
mained in the family of Heber 4 , and was thence called Hebrew ; 
which is also expressly affirmed by Eucherius upon Genesis (Lib. n. 
c. 2) : " At that time, wherein a diversity of languages was pro 
duced, the former tongue retained its place in the family of Heber 
alone 5 ." Thus, whilst all other races were punished with a sudden 
change of dialect, Heber preserved his ancient language, and trans 
mitted it to his posterity, not all of them indeed, but that line from 
which Abraham descended. And, along with the language, the 
pure religion also was propagated in the family of Abraham. Fur 
thermore, in that perturbation and confusion of tongues which took 
place at Babel, the Hebrew was the mother of the rest. For the 
others are generally but dialects and varieties of this, some more 
closely allied and bearing a greater resemblance to their parent, 
while others have deflected farther from the primitive stock : but 
all the rest are derived from it. " We may perceive," says 
Jerome, on Zephaniah, chap. iii. " that the Hebrew language is the 
mother of all languages 6 ." He gives there one example in proof, 
the identity of the Hebrew Nugei with the Latin Nugce. 

In this language, which the faithful after that time preserved 
incorrupt in one family, the old Testament was published, as all 
unanimously agree. Upon this subject Jerome thus writes in his 

[ 4 Non defuit domus Heber, ubi ea quse antea fuit omnium lingua re- 

[ 5 Eo tempore quando linguarum facta est varietas, in sola domo Heber 
quse antea fuit lingua commansit. c. 7. p. 61. These commentaries are falsely 
attributed to Eucherius of Lyons, who flourished A. D. 434, as they make 
citations from Gregory I. and Cassiodorus. They were published among 
his works, Basil. 1531.] 

[ 6 Ut nosse possimus, esse Hebraicam linguam omnium matricem. T. vr. 
p. 730. The verse referred to is 18. But in \ftlJ which Jerome translates 
nugas in its obsolete sense of mourners, the 3 is not radical but servile, 
the mark of the Niphal participle from fTJP corresponding to the Sanscrit 

r -i 8 



142nd Epistle : "All antiquity agrees to witness that the beginning 
of speech and common discourse, and the whole substance of human 
language, is the Hebrew tongue, in which the old Testament is 
written 1 ." It is also certain that Moses is the earliest writer, 
although some persons think otherwise, and allege certain names of 
books which are found in the scriptures. These objections may be 
easily answered ; but I shall not enter upon that subject as not per 
taining to the matter in hand. God himself shewed the model and 
method of writing, when he delivered the law, inscribed by his own 
finger, to Moses. This is the opinion of Chrysostom (Opp. T. ir. p. 1. 
Eton. 1612), and Theophylact (upon Matth. i.) ; and it is also em 
braced by the Papists, as Hosius, in his Confessio Petrocoviensis, 
cap. 15, and the Jesuit Schrock, in his 13 Thesis de Verbo Dei. 
Augustine, indeed, (Civit. Dei. Lib. xv. c. 23,) 2 affirms it to be cer 
tain that Enoch committed some things to writing, since Jude asserts 
as much in his Epistle. But it does not appear that this is a fair 
inference from Jude s expression : for Jude does not say, " Well 
wrote Enoch;" but, "well prophesied," irpoe<ptjreva. The 
passage cited, therefore, is either some oral speech of Enoch s, or 
else written by some other person. But we must not say that any 
book written by Enoch was extant at the time when this epistle 
was written : for if so, it would have been canonical. But the 
Jews had no such book in their canon. It was Moses, therefore, 
the greatest of the prophets, who wrote the first canonical book of 
scripture ; after whom other prophets published several volumes. 
Some wrote before the captivity, as Samuel, Nathan, Isaiah, Hosea, 
and many more : some in the captivity, as Ezekiel and Daniel : 
some for a space after the captivity, as Ezra, Haggai, Zechariah, 
Malachi. These all wrote in Hebrew, except a few pieces which 
we find composed by Daniel and Ezra in Chaldee. But the Chal- 
dee tongue is near akin to the Hebrew, and was then a language 
known to the church. Nor is this exception a matter of sufficient 
moment to prevent Jerome from saying that the old Testament is 
entirely written in Hebrew. 

There are some, however, who imagine that the whole old 
Testament perished in the captivity. This suspicion, perhaps, arose 

[! Initium oris et communis eloquii, et hoc omne quod loquimur, He- 
brseam linguam, qua vetus Testamentum scriptum est, universa antiquitas 
tradidit Ep. 18. T. i. p. 49.] 

[ 2 Scripsisse quidem nonnulla divina Enoch, ilium septimum ab Adam, 
negare non possumus, cum hoc in epistola canonica Judas Apostolus dicat.] 


from considering that, when the temple was burnt, all that was in 
it must have been consumed in the same conflagration. Hence 
they believe that the sacred volumes of scripture must have been 
destroyed in the flames ; but that, after the captivity, Ezra, in 
structed by the Holy Spirit, published these afresh, as it were 
again recovered. In this opinion was Clemens Alexandrinus (Strom. 
Lib. i.) 3 and Irenseus (Lib. in. c. 25), who writes thus : " In that 
captivity of the people which took place under Nebuchadnezzar, the 
scriptures being impaired, when, after the expiration of seventy 
years, the Jews returned to their own land, and after that again in 
the times of Artaxerxes, king of the Persians, God inspired Ezra, 
who was of the tribe of Levi, to renew all the discourses of the 
prophets, and restore to the people the law which had been given 
them by Moses 4 ." Similar are the words of Leontius (de Sectis. 
Act. 2) : " Ezra, coming to Jerusalem, and finding that all the 
books had been burnt when the people were taken captive, is said 
to have written down from memory those two and twenty books of 
which we have given a list in the foregoing place 5 ." Isidorus (de 
officiis), and Rabanus Maurus (de Inst. Cleric, c. 54) write to the 
same effect. They affirm, therefore, two things : one, that the 
whole sacred and canonical scripture perished in the Babylonian 
captivity : the other, that it was restored to its integrity by Ezra, 
instructed and inspired in a wonderful manner by the direct agency 
of God. 

But the falsehood of this opinion is manifest. For the pious 
Jews had, no doubt, many copies of the scripture in their possession, 
and could easily save them from that calamity. What man in his 
senses will say that there was no copy of the scriptures beside that 
in the temple ? Besides, if these books had been deposited in the 
temple, would not either the priests or somebody else have been 

[ 3 81 ov yivcrai ..... 6 ra>v QeoirveiHTTav dvayv<>pi(Tp,os KOL d 
XoyiW. P. 329, D. Morell. Paris. 1629. Compare also 342, B.] 

[ 4 V rfj eVi Na^ou^oSoi oo-op ai^ftaXcocrta rov Xaou 8ia<p6apeio-o>v ro5i 
ypa<e3i/, Acal p-era e/SSo/z^Koi/ra err) rav lovSaiW dveXOovrav els rrjv -\wp av 
aurroi/, TTira *v rols ^poi/oiff Apra^epgov TOV Tifpv&v j3a<rtXea>? evetrvevarcv 
*Eo-pa TO) fepei CK TTJS (pvXrjs Aeiu, TOVS rS>v TrpoyeyovoToov 7rpo<pr)T<nv Trai/ra? 
dvarda(rdai Xoyovs 1 , KOL aTTOKaraa-T^crat r<3 Xa&> TTJV 8ia Maxreeoff vop.o0<riav. 
P. 293. ed. Fevard. Par. 1675. The Greek is given by Eusebius, H. E. v. 8.] 

[ 5 O 8e "Eo-Spas f\da>v els TO. lepoo-oXvpa, KCU evpooz/ on irdvra /3t/3Xi a 
770-ai/ KavQevTa, rjviK.a ^juaXcorio-^crai/, CITTO p.vrjfj.rjs Xeyerat crvyypdtyao-Qai TO. 
KJ3 /3i/3Xia, ancp Iv rots ava> dTrr)pi6p.r]<Tdp,e6a. . 8. p. 632. ap. Gallandi Bibl. 
V. P. T. xii. Venet. 1788.] 



able to rescue them from the flames? It is incredible that the 
religious Jews should have been so unmindful of piety and religion 
as to keep no copies whatever of the scriptures, whilst they lived 
in Babylon, especially while they had such men among them as 
Ezekiel and Daniel. But it is certain that they had many copies. 
For even Antiochus himself could not utterly destroy them all, 
though he set himself to do so with the utmost zeal and sedulity. 
Hence it appears that there were everywhere a very great number 
of copies ; and now the Babylonians made no such fierce assault upon 
the sacred books. In accordance with what we might expect from 
such premises, Ezra is simply said, Nehem. viii., to have brought 
the book of Moses and read it. The books of Moses therefore, 
and, in like manner, the other books of scripture, were preserved 
safe in the captivity ; and we have now no other, but the very 
same books of scripture of the old Testament as those which were 
written by Moses and the rest of the prophets. 

However, it is very possible that the books, which may have 
been previously in some disorder, were corrected by Ezra, restored 
to their proper places, and disposed according to some fixed plan, 
as Hilary in his prologue affirms particularly of the Psalms. Per 
haps, too, Ezra either changed or reformed the shapes and 
figures of the letters. Jerome indeed, in his epistle to Paulinus, 
maintains that " Ezra invented new forms for the letters after the 
return from the captivity ; for that previously the Jews had used 
the same characters as the Samaritans 1 ." Hence, if we credit Jerome, 
Ezra introduced new forms of the letters, more elegant and easy 
than those which were before in use, copied out the law in these 
new characters, and left the old ones to the Samaritans. In con 
formity with this statement, Jerome further tells us, upon Ezekiel 
ix. 2 , that the last letter of the alphabet was formerly similar to the 
Greek Tav, and that it still, in his time, retained that figure in the 
Samaritan character; while the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet 
has now quite another and different shape. 

[ l Cerium est, Esdram scribam Legisque doctorem, post captam Hiero- 
solymam .... alias literas repperisse, quibus nunc utiraur : cum ad illud 
usque temp us iidem Samaritanorum et Hebreeorum characteres fuerint.] 

[ a Antiquis Hebrseorum literis, quibus usque hodie utuntur Samaritani, 
extrema Thau litera, crucis habet similitudinem. T. v. p. 96. The remark 
was made by Origen before him : ra ap^ala o-rot^eia e/x^epes- e^e w TO Tav r<5 
rov a-ravpov xapaKTrjpi. Coins are still found which preserve the old cruciform 
Phoenician Tau, though the Samaritan has ceased to bear that shape.] 


But, though Jerome affirms that Ezra invented new characters, 
he never says that he made everything new. He might very easily 
copy and set forth the same ancient text in the new letters. We 
must hold, therefore, that we have now those very ancient scrip 
tures which Moses and the other prophets published, although we 
have not, perhaps, precisely the same forms and shapes of the 



THESE Hebrew books of sacred scripture were, of old, trans 
lated into various languages, particularly into Chaldee and Greek. 
The Chaldee paraphrase is generally allowed great credit and 
authority, especially that of the Pentateuch which was made by 
Onkelos 3 . The rest were turned into Chaldee by Jonathan and 
Joseph, who lived a little before, or about the time of Christ 4 . 
There were many Greek translations of scripture published by 
various authors. But, without question, the noblest and most 
famous of them all was that which was composed by the seventy- 
two interpreters in Egypt, in compliance with the pious wishes of 
Ptolemy Philadelphus. We may read large accounts of this Greek 
version in Epiphanius (de Mensur. et Ponder. 5 ), Eusebius (Prseparat. 
Evangel. Lib. vin. 6 ), Justin Martyr (Dial. c. Tryph. 7 ), besides many 
others. Nay, there is still extant a book of Aristaeus, who pretends 
to have been one of Ptolemy s body-guards, and gives a narrative 
of the whole transaction. But Ludovicus Vives 8 (in Lib. xvni. 

[ 3 It is printed in Buxtorfs Rabbinical Bible, Basil, 1719, and in the 
Paris and London Polyglotts. Onkelos s history is involved in great obscu 
rity. The best book on the subject is perhaps Luzzato s Philoxemis, Vienna, 

[ 4 Jonathan Ben Uzziel lived probably a little before the time of Christ ; 
but Joseph the Blind presided over the school at Sora about A.D. 322. A 
great part of the Targum, which goes under his name, was probably written 
much later.] 

[ 5 c. 3, 6, 911.] 

[ 6 pp. 206209. ed. Steph. Par. 1544.] 

[ 7 p. 294. Opp. Just. Mart. Par. 1636.] 

[ 8 Circumfertur libellus ejus nomine de LXX. interpretibus, confictus ut 


c. 43. August, de Civit. Dei,) supposes this book to be the fiction 
of a more modern writer. That the scriptures were translated into 
Greek, there can be no doubt, since all antiquity attests the fact. 
But the other parts of the story are not equally certain. 

This version I suppose to have been the first and earliest of 
all the Greek versions; although Clemens Alexandrinus (Stromat. 
Lib. i. 1 ) seems to say that the scripture was translated into Greek 
long before this period, and read by Plato ; and the question of 
Numenius, a Pythagorean philosopher, is alleged by him, TI yap 
ecrri nXarwi/ $ M cocrrjs aTTiKifyv ; What else is Plato but an 
Attic Moses ? But if the sacred books of scripture had been 
translated into the Greek tongue previously, then Demetrius, who 
collected the library for king Ptolemy, would not have been igno 
rant of that version or desired a new one. Plato, indeed, and the 
Pythagoreans might have known something of these books from 
the common discourse of men and intimacy with those who were 
acquainted with them ; but I hardly think that they ever read the 
books in Greek. For this was the first Greek translation, published 
about three hundred years before Christ, as Theodoret writes in 
these words : " This first edition was published three hundred 
and one years before God the Word, our Lord Jesus Christ, came 
to sojourn with us in the flesh 2 ." 

Some there are who think that the seventy interpreters did 
not translate the whole scripture of the old Testament, but only the 
law into the Greek language, understanding under the name of the 
law not the entire ancient scripture, but merely the Pentateuch. 
Such was the opinion of Josephus, as we find in the Proem to his 
antiquities, where he hath these words : " For Ptolemy did not 

puto ab aliquo recentiore. P. 620. ed. Froben. Basil. 1512. The spurious- 
ness of this piece was finally demonstrated by Hody, in a treatise which forms 
the first part of his great work, De Bibliorum Textibus, &c. Oxon. 1705.] 

[ 1 dir}p[j.r]VVTai Se Kal npo Ar]fj,r)Tpiov ra T Kara TTJV e Aiyimrov 

c^ayayrjv TCOV E/Spauov TOIV ^fierepcov 7roAireoz>, Kal 77 TO>V ycyovorcav drrdvrcov 
avrols 7Ti(j)di>ia, Koi Kpdrrjo-Ls TTJS ^copa?, Kal rfjs o\rjs vo^oOfarLas C7re^yij(ns 
cocrre evftrjXov clvai TOV TrpoeiprjiJievov <pi\6cro<pov el\r)(pevai TroXXa. yeyove yap 
TroXvpaOris. P. 342. B.C. The passage is quoted from Aristobulus,upon whom 
see Valckenaer, de Aristobulo Judseo Diatribe. It appears to me, however, 
that Aristobulus is there not speaking of any regular translation, but of such 
pieces as those of Ezekiel Tragoadus, in which the greater part of the Mosaic 
history was paraphrased in Greek verse or prose.] 

[ 2 Trparr) de avrr] fj CK$O(TIS eyei/ero TTpo rpiaKoo-rov Trpwrov erovs rrjs 
trapKos Trpbs ijfJias 7ridr)ij,ias rov 0eou Adyov KCU Kvpiov TJ^WV *Ir)(rov 


obtain the whole scripture ; but the interpreters only delivered to 
him the law 3 ." Which, he says, was the circumstance that led him 
to introduce the whole scripture to Grecian readers. That this 
was Josephus opinion is confirmed also by the testimony of Jerome. 
But others hold that all the books were translated ; and theirs 
seems the more probable view. For the reason which led them 
to make any version at all is sufficient to persuade one that they 
made a complete one ; nor would the king have been satisfied with 
only a part. The wonder, too, which some relate of the incredible 
celerity with which the task was performed would have no place, if 
they translated so small a piece only. Chrysostom, in his discourse 
against the Jews, affirms that the scriptures translated by them 
were reposited in the temple of Serapis, and the version of the 
prophetic books might be found there even still : ime-^pi vvv e /cet 
TWV Hpo(priTa)V at epfMrjvevOe^crai /3i/3\oi juevovatv*. And Theo- 
doret says that the Jews sent to king Ptolemy not a part only of 
the scripture, but the whole written in golden characters, ^pvcrot^ 
ypa/jL/jiacri TYJV Traa av ypafbtjv evrrtj/mrjvdfjievoi. Now, if the books 
of the prophets translated into Greek by them remained in the 
royal library to the time of Chrysostom, and if the Jews sent the 
whole scripture along with the interpreters to the king, there is no 
room left to doubt that the whole scripture was translated by them 
into the Grecian language. 

What authority, however, this version should command is un 
certain. The ancients used to hold it in the highest estimation, and 
looked upon it as unique and divine. Epiphanius, in his book of 
Weights and Measures, says that the translators were not mere 
interpreters, but, in some sort, prophets also 5 . And Augustine (de 
Doct. Christ. Lib. n. c. 15) says, that this version was made by a 
divine dispensation, and was held in greatest repute among the 
best learned churches, since the translators were said to have been 
" aided by such a presence of the Holy Spirit in their interpreta 
tion as that they all had but one mouth 6 ." Upon this subject he 

[3 ovfte yap Tracrav eVceii/oy e(f)6r) Xa/3eTi/ rr\v avaypafpyv, aXX* avra p.6va ra 
TOV vopov Trapedcxrav ol treaty 6 evres firi TJJV e^rjyrjoriv els TTJV AXe^avdpeiav. 
Procem. 3. p. 6.] 

[4 Tom. vi. p. 37. ed. Savil.] 

[ 6 ov p,6vov epp,r]vevTai eKeii/ot yeyovacriv, a\\a Koi OTTO pepovs Trpofpfjrai. De 
Pond, et Mens. 17. Opp. T. n. p. 173. c. ed. Petav. Colorme. 1682.] 

[ 6 Scptuaginta interpretum, quod ad vetus Testamentum attinet, excellifc 


hath also written largely in his City of God, Lib. xvm. c. 42 and 
43. In like manner, Irens3us (Lib. in. c. 25) writes that, though 
each made his translation apart, yet in the end, when they all 
met together and compared their several versions, " they all recited 
the same thing and in the very same words and terms from 
beginning to the end ; so as that the gentiles who stood by might 
easily perceive, that it was by the inspiration of God that the 
scriptures were translated 1 ." So Augustine, in the City of God, 
Lib. xvin. c. 42 : " The tradition is that there was so wonderful, 
stupendous, and absolutely divine agreement in their expressions, 
that although each sat down separately to this task (for so Ptolemy 
chose to try their fidelity), yet none differed from another even in 
a single word, though it were synonymous and equivalent, or in 
the order and placing of the words. But, as if there had been 
but one translator, so the translation was one ; as, indeed, it was 
one and the same Holy Spirit which was in them all 2 ." Now, 
while I doubt not that this version was held in high authority, 
and that deservedly too, I cannot think that the miracles which 
are told to magnify its authority deserve credit ; and, indeed, we 
find that they are treated as fables by Jerome in the Preface to 
the Pentateuch 3 . However great may have been the authority 
of this version, it could not have been greater than that of our 
version. They, therefore, attribute too much to it, who make it 
inspired, and equal to the authentic scriptures themselves. For 
the authority of those interpreters was not so illustrious and cer 
tain as that of the prophets : nor is it the same thing to be an 

auctoritas: qui jam per omnes peritiores ecclesias tanta prsesentia Sancti 
Spiritus interpretati esse dicuntur, ut os unum tot hominum fuerit.J 

[1 T&V TravTtov ra avTa Tais avrais Ae^ecri KOL rols avrois lv dvayopev- 
a-avTutv an ap^rjs /^X/ 31 T^OVS, coore Kal TO. irapovra c 6vrj yvavai on KCLT cninvotav 
TOV Qeov fla\v ^pprjvevfjievai al ypacfrai P. 293. ut supra.] 

[ 2 Traditur sane tarn mirabilem ac stupendum planeque divinum in eorum 
verbis fuisse consensum, ut cum ad hoc opus separatim singuli sederint, (ita 
enim eorum fidem Ptolemseo regi placuit explorasse,) in nullo verbo, quod 
idem significaret et tantundem valeret, vel in verborum ordine, alter ab altero 
discreparet, sed tanquam si unus esset interpres, ita quod omnes interpretati 
sunt, unum erat, quoniam revera Spiritus erat unus in omnibus.] 

[ 3 Nescio quis primus auctor septuaginta cellulas Alexandria? mendacio 
suo extruxerit, quibus divisi eadem scriptitarint, cum Aristseus ejusdem 
Ptolemsei vTrcpaa-Tricrr^s, et multo post tempore Josephus nihil tale retu- 
lerint, sed in una basilica congregates contulisse scribant, non prophetasse. 
T. ix. p. 3.] 


interpreter and to be a prophet. Rightly, therefore, does Jerome 4 , 
in the Preface to the Pentateuch, call the seventy interpreters, not 
prophets. In his Commentaries also he frequently blames the 
Greek version of the seventy translators, not only as depraved by 
the scribes, but even as faulty in itself; which he surely would 
not have done, if he had deemed that translation to be possessed of 
such divine and supereminent authority. 

Learned men question, whether the Greek version of the scrip 
tures now extant be or be not the version of the seventy elders. 
The sounder opinion seems to be that of those who determine that 
the true Septuagint is wholly lost 5 , and that the Greek text, as 
we have it, is a mixed and miserably corrupted document. Aris- 
tseus says that the Septuagint version was exactly conformable to 
the Hebrew originals, so that, when read and diligently examined 
by skilful judges, it was highly approved by the general suffrage 
of them all. But this of ours differs amazingly from the Hebrew 
copies, as well in other places and books, as specially in the Psalms 
of David. Nor is there room for any one to reply that the He 
brew is corrupt. For even the papists will not venture to maintain 
that the Greek is purer than the Hebrew. If they did, they 
would be obliged to condemn their own Latin version, which agrees 
much more closely with the Hebrew than with the Greek. Nay, 
the faults of the Greek translation are so manifest, that it is im 
possible to find any way of excusing them. There is the greatest 
difference between the Hebrew and Greek books in the account of 
times and years. The Greek books reckon 2242 years from Adam 
and the beginning of the world to the flood, as we read in Augus 
tine, Eusebius, and Nicephorus Chronology. But in the Hebrew 
books we see that there were no more than 1656. Thus the 
Greek calculation exceeds the Hebrew by 586 years. Again, from 
the deluge to Abraham there is, according to the LXX., an 
interval of 1082 years. But if you consult the Hebrew verity, 
you will not find more than 292 6 . Thus the Greek books exhibit 

[ 4 Aliud est enim esse vatem, aliud esse interpretem. Ibi Spiritus yentura 
prsedicit: hie eruditio et verborum copia ea quse intelligit profert. Ibid.] 

[ 5 This opinion is most learnedly, but in my opinion most hopelessly 
maintained by Ussher, in his Syntagma De LXX. Interprett. See Walton 
Proleg. ix. pp. 125159. (Vol. n. ed. Wrangham.)] 

[ 6 See some admirable remarks upon the comparative merits of the He 
brew, Samaritan, and Greek chronologies in Gesenius, De Pentateuchi Samar. 
Orig. &c. Halse. 1815.] 


790 years more than the Hebrew : and all concede the Hebrew 
numbers to be much truer than the Greek. Gen. v., in the Greek 
books, Adam is said to have lived 230 years, or, according to 
some copies, 330, when he begat Seth. But the Hebrew text 
shews that Seth was born when Adam was 130 years old. In 
the rest there is a similar discordance of reckoning times, so as to 
prove that it was not without reason that Jerome wrote that the 
LXX. sometimes erred in their numbers. It is even a laughable 
mistake in the Greek by which Methusalem is made to survive the 
flood fourteen years 1 . Where did he remain during the deluge ? 
or how was he preserved ? Certainly he was not in the ark ; in 
which the scripture testifies that there were no more than eight per 
sons. This, therefore, is a manifest falsity in the Greek edition. 
But the Hebrew text speaks much more truly of the years and age 
of Methusalem ; and we collect from it that he died in that same 
year in which the world was overwhelmed by the deluge. Augus 
tine treats of this matter in his City of God, Lib. xv. c. 11. So 
Jonah iii., according to the Hebrew reading, destruction is de 
nounced against the Ninevites after 40 days. But in the Greek 
we read otherwise, " Yet three days, and Nineve shall be de 
stroyed:" which is manifestly a false reading; for he could 
scarcely have traversed the whole city in three days. Augustine 
(Civit. Dei. Lib. xvm. c. 44) invents I know not what mystery in 
this change of numbers to preserve the authority of the Septuagint, 
which, nevertheless, in the former place about Methusalem he is 
unable to defend. 

From these and innumerable examples of the like sort we may 
conclude, either that this Greek version which hath come down to 
our times is not the same as that published by the seventy Jewish 
elders, or that it hath suffered such infinite and shameful cor 
ruptions as to be now of very slight authority. Even Jerome had 
not the Greek translation of the seventy interpreters in its purity ; 
since he often complains in his commentaries that what he had 
was faulty and corrupt. 

[ l Whitaker might have remembered, that Augustine (Civit. Dei, xv. 13), 
and the author under his name of the Questions on Genesis, Q. n. appeal to 
ancient MSS. of the LXX. which are free from this fault. Walton (Proleg. 
IX. T. n. p. 168. edit. Wrangham) observes, that Methusalem s age at the 
birth of Lamech is made 187 instead of 167 in the Cotton MS., the octateuch 
of J. Clemens, and the Aldine edition.] 




BESIDES this first and most famous translation, which was made 
by the seventy interpreters, there were formerly other Greek ver 
sions also of the old Testament, composed by various authors after 
the gospel of Christ had been spread far and wide over the world. 
The first of these was Aquila of Sinopo, whom the emperor Hadrian 
employed as prefect and curator of the works when he repaired 
Jerusalem. Epiphanius, in his book of Weights and Measures, 
relates that this Aquila, having originally been a Greek, received 
baptism and was admitted into the Christian society ; but, on account 
of his assiduous devotion to astrology, was first censured by the 
Christians, and finally, when he disregarded their censures and 
admonitions, ejected from the Church ; that, stung by such a dis 
grace, this impious man revolted from the Christians to the Jews, 
had himself circumcised, learned the Hebrew language and literature, 
and translated the scriptures of the old Testament into Greek, but 
not with faithfulness or sincerity, but with a depraved and perverse 
intention (/ca/zTri/Xw KO.I ci(TTpctiu./uLvit) Ao r yf<j/uw, as Theodoret 
says,) of obscuring the testimonies which confirm the doctrine of 
Christ, and giving a plausible colour to his apostasy. 

He was followed by Symmachus, whom Epiphanius testifies to 
have lived in the time of Aurelius Yerus 2 , and who was a Samaritan 
according to Theodoret. "Being ambitious of power and dignity, 
and unable to obtain from his countrymen that authority and 
honour which he desired, he betook himself to the Jews, and trans 
lated the scriptures from Hebrew into Greek (Trpos Siao-Tpo(prjv) 
for the confutation of the Samaritans. Epiphanius relates that this 
Symmachus was twice circumcised ; teal TrepiTefjiveTai, says he, 
Seurepau TYJV TrepLro^v which he shews to be possible by adducing 
those words of the apostle, Treprer/a^ei/os rts CK\yj6rj ; /u^ TTL- 
o-rracrOu), and ascribes the device there meant to Esau as the 

Next came 3 one Theodotion of Pontus, of the party and sect of 
Marcion. He, having not only rejected the Marcionite opinions, 

[ 2 Ut supra, c. 16.] 

[ 3 Whitaker has fallen into a mistake in placing Theodotion after Sym 
machus. See Hody, p. 179.] 


but also utterly abjured Christianity, went over to the Jews ; and, 
having learned their language, translated the scriptures into the 
Greek tongue, " for the confutation, " as Theodoret says, " of his 
own sect" (jrpos diacrTpo<pr)v TIJS avrov aipecrews). These three 
interpreters were enemies of the Christian faith, and did not trans 
late the scriptures honestly. Yet Jerome and other ancient writers 
often cite their translations in commenting upon the bible. Those 
versions have now perished, save that the papists retain some 
parts of Theodotion s version, and obtrude them on the world as 
canonical. For they have the apocryphal 13th and 14th of Daniel 
not from the pure Hebrew originals, but from the Greek translation 
of Theodotion, an impious heretic or apostate. 

There was also another Greek translation by Lucian 1 , a pres 
byter of the church of Antioch, and a martyr about the time of 
Diocletian, which is mentioned by Theodoret, in the Synopsis of 
Athanasius, and elsewhere 2 . They say that this was found written 
by the martyr s own hand, at Nicomedia, in a marble tower. And 
Jerome, in the catalogue, says that in his time some copies were 
called Lucianea. There were also two other editions by unknown 
authors. The first was found at Jericho in a pitcher 3 , in the reign 
of Caracalla ; the other in a similar vessel, at the northern 
Nicopolis, in the reign of Alexander the son of Mamma3a, as Epi- 
phanius and Theodoret testify. 

I come now to Origen, who, according to the narrative of Epi- 
phanius and others, being assisted by the resources of Ambrosius, 
a rich and pious person, bestowed incredible pains upon collecting 
and comparing the various editions of the scriptures 4 . He brought 
together the Greek versions of Aquila, Symmachus, the seventy-two^ 
and Theodotion, into one volume, arranged in four distinct columns. 
This formed what is called Origen s Tetrapla (reTpcnrXa /3i/3A<a). 
Afterwards he added the Hebrew text in two columns, expressing in 
one in Hebrew, in the other in Greek characters. This was the 
Hexapla. Lastly, he appended the two anonymous versions found 
in jars, and so constructed the Octapla, a laborious and super-human 

[* Lucian made no new translation, but only revised the text of the LXX. 
See Hody, p. 627.] 

[ 2 Synopsis Script, inter Opp. Athanasii. T. n. pp. 203, 204. cf. Suidas, 

VOC. AovKtai/os.] 

[ 3 Epiphan. de Mens. et Pond. c. 17.] 

[ 4 See what is still the fullest and best account of Origen s labours in 
Hody, Lib. iv. c. 11.] 


work, which is now lost, to the irreparable injury of the 
Church. Origen marked these texts with various asterisks and 
obeli, lemnisci and hypolemnisci, according as the various and 
manifold characters of those editions required. This was a work the 
loss of which we may deplore, but cannot compensate. 



WE have next, in the second place, to speak of the Greek 
edition of the new Testament. It is certain that the whole new 
Testament was written in Greek, unless, perhaps, we are to except 
the Gospel of Matthew and the Epistle to the Hebrews. Hosius 
of Esmeland (in his book de Sacro Yernac.) says, that it was only 
the Gospel of Matthew which was written in Hebrew. Jerome 
affirms the same thing in these words of his Preface to the four 
evangelists addressed to Damasus : " The new Testament is un 
doubtedly Greek, with the exception of the Apostle Matthew, who 
first published the gospel in Judaea in Hebrew letters 5 ." Neverthe 
less in the catalogue, under the article Paul, he says that the Epistle 
to the Hebrews was written in Hebrew. Thus he writes : " He wrote 
most eloquently as a Hebrew to the Hebrews, in the Hebrew, that 
is, in his own language 6 ." The translation of this epistle into Greek 
some ascribe to Barnabas, as Theodorus Lector 7 in his second book 
of Collectanea, some to Luke 8 , and some to Clemens 9 . But, how 
ever that may be, the Greek edition both of the Gospel according 
to Matthew and of the Epistle to the Hebrews is authentic. For 
the Hebrew originals (if any such there were) are now nowhere 
extant, and the Greek was published in the life-time of the apostles, 

[ 5 De novo nunc loquor Testamento, quod Grsecum esse non dubium est, 
excepto apostolo Matthaeo, qui primus in Judaea evangelium Christi Hebraicis 
literis edidit. Opp. T. i. p. 1426.] 

[ 6 Scripserat, ut Hebrseus Hebrseis, Hebraice, id est suo eloquio, disertis- 

[? I think this is a mistake. At least I can find no such statements in 

[ 8 So Clemens Alex. ap. Euseb. H. Eccl. L. vi. c. 14.] 

[ 9 Euseb. H. E. Lib. III. C. 38. 01 p.ev TOV euayyeAto-n/i/ AOVKCH/, 01 de roy 
TOVTOV avrov eppr)Vfv<rai \cyovcri rrjv 


received in the church, and approved by the apostles themselves. 
Jerome in the Catalogue (Article MATTH^EUS), tells us : " He first 
composed a gospel in the Hebrew character and language, in Juda3a, 
for the sake of those of the circumcision who had believed ; but it is 
not certainly known who translated it into Greek." He adds, that 
" the Hebrew text itself was preserved in his time in the library of 
Caesar aea which was built by the martyr Pamphilus 1 ." So Nazian- 
zene in his version upon the genuine books 2 : 

Mardaios pev eypatytv E/3pai ois flavpara XpicrroO* 

where, when he says that Matthew wrote the miracles of Christ for 
the Hebrew, it is implied that he wrote his gospel in Hebrew. So 
Irenseus, Lib. HI. c. 1, relates, that "Matthew published the scripture 
of the gospel amongst the Hebrews in their own language 3 ." These 
fathers then suppose that Matthew wrote his gospel in Hebrew, and 
that it was translated by an unknown hand. Athanasius, however, 
in his Synopsis 4 , writes that the Hebrew gospel of Matthew was 
translated into Greek by the apostle James, but brings no argument 
to command our credence. 

Nor is the opinion of a Hebrew original of the gospel of 
Matthew supported by any proofs of sufficient strength. For 
at the time when Christ was upon earth the Jews did not speak 
Hebrew, but Syriac. Matthew, therefore, would rather have 
written in Syriac than in Hebrew; as indeed it is the opinion 
of Widmanstadt and Guido Fabricius, to which our Jesuit also 
subscribes, that Matthew wrote his gospel not in the Hebrew, but 
in the Syriac language. And they allege that, when the fathers 
say that Matthew wrote in Hebrew, we must understand them to 
mean that Hebrew dialect which the Jews then used, and which was 

[ l Primus in Judaea, propter eos qui ex circumcisione crediderant, evange- 
lium Christi Hebraicis literis verbisque composuit : quod quis postea in Grse- 
cum transtulerit non satis certum est. Porro ipsum Hebraicum habetur 
usque hodie in Ceesariensi Bibliotheca, quam Pamphilus Martyr studiosissime 
confecit. c. 3. It seems to be certain, nevertheless, that Jerome believed 
this Gospel to have been written in Syriac. Compare Adv. Pelag. Lib. in. 
c. 1. In evangelic juxta Hebrseos, quod Chaldaico quidem Syroque sermone, 
sed Hebraicis literis scriptum est, quo utuntur usque hodie Nazareni, secun- 
dum apostolos, sive (ut plerique autumant) juxta Mattheeum, quod et in Ccesa- 
riensi habetur Bibliotheca, &c.] 

[2 Poem. xxxm. 31. Opp. T. n. p. 99. Lips. 1690.] 

[3 6 iiev Mar$cuos ei> rots E/Spaiois 1 TTJ Idiq dia\KTO) avrcov /cat ypafbrjv e^rj 
Kfv evayyeXiov. P. 220. et ap. Euseb. H. E. Lib. v. c. 8.] 

[ 4 Inter Opp. Athan. T. n. p. 177.] 


not pure Hebrew, but Syriac, or a mixture of Hebrew and Chaldee. 
Yet Jerome thought that the gospel of Matthew was written in pure 
Hebrew: for, in the catalogue under the article MATTH^US, he writes 
that there was a MS. remaining of this Hebrew gospel in the 
library of Nicomedia 5 , and that he was permitted to make a copy 
of it. On the whole, therefore, it seems uncertain that Matthew 
wrote his gospel either in Hebrew or in Syriac; and it is rather to 
be thought that both Matthew and the author of the epistle to the 
Hebrews wrote in Greek, since the Greek language was then not 
unknown to the Jews themselves, and the other apostles used the 
Greek language not only in those pieces which they wrote for all 
promiscuously, but also in those which were inscribed peculiarly to 
the Jews, as we see in the case of James and Peter. However, 
the learned are agreed that those Hebrew copies of this gospel and 
epistle which are now extant are not genuine. 

The Lord willed the new Testament to be written in Greek, 
because he had determined to bring forth the gospel from the 
narrow bounds of Judaea into a broader field, and publish it to 
all people and nations. On this account the Lord selected the 
Greek language, than which no other was more commonly known 
by all men, wherein to communicate his gospel to as many coun 
tries and persons as possible. He willed also that the heavenly 
truth of the gospel should be written in Greek in order to pro 
vide a confutation of the Gentiles idolatry and of the philosophy 
and wisdom of the Grecians. And, although at that time the 
Romans had the widest empire, yet Cicero himself, in his ora 
tion for the poet Archias, bears witness that the language of the 
Greeks was more widely extended than that of the Romans 6 . As, 
therefore, before Christ the holy doctrine was written in that lan 
guage which was the peculiar and native tongue of the Church ; so 
after Christ all was written in Greek, that they might more easily 
reach and be propagated to the Church now about to be gathered 
out of all nations. 

[ 5 Mihi quoque a Nazarseis, qui in Bereea urbe Syrise hoc yolumine utun- 
tur, describendi facultas fuit. Vide supra.] 

[ 6 Grseca leguntur in omnibus fere gentibus : Latina suis fmibus, exiguis 
sane, continentur. Cic. Opp. T. v. p. 445, ed. Lallemand. Paris. 1768.] 




I COME now, as was proposed in the third place, to the Latin 
edition, which is commonly called the Vulgate. That there were 
formerly in the church very many Latin versions of the scriptures, 
we have the testimony of Augustine (de Doctr. Christ. Lib. n. c. 11) 
to assure us. His words are : " Those who have translated the 
scriptures into Greek out of the Hebrew language may be counted, 
but the Latin translators cannot 1 ." Augustine expresses an opinion, 
that a theologian may derive some assistance from this multitude 
of versions; but shews plainly that he did not consider any one in 
particular authentic, but thought that whatever in each was most 
useful for the reader s purpose, should be employed as a means for 
the right understanding of scripture. But Jerome, in the preface to 
Joshua, complains of this so great variety of the Latin texts: for 
he says that "there were as many texts as copies, since every one, 
at his own caprice, added or subtracted what he pleased 2 ." But 
among the rest there was one more famous, which was called Itala 3 ; 
and which Augustine (Doctr. Christ. Lib. IL c. 15) prefers to the 
others, for keeping closer to the words and expressing the sense 
more clearly and intelligibly. This was not, however, that version 
which Jerome published. Who the author of this version was is 
not known, but it was certainly more ancient than the Hieronymian: 
for Gregory, in his epistle to Leander 4 , says that the Roman 

[! Qui ex Hebrsea lingua scripturas in Grsecam verterunt numerari pos- 
sunt, Latini autem nullo modo.] 

[ 2 Maxime cum apud Latinos tot sint exemplaria, quot codices, et unus- 
quisque pro arbitrio suo vel addiderit vel subtraxerit quod ei visum est.] 

[ 3 As this is the only passage in which any ancient Latin father speaks of 
a versio Itala, various critical efforts have been made to alter the text ; the 
most ingenious being that of Archbp. Potter: "In ipsis autem interpretatio- 
nibus USITATA ceteris prseferatur; nam est verborum tenacior cum perspi- 
cuitate sententise." He supposes the present reading to have originated by 
the absorption of the Us in the last syllable of the preceding word, after 
which Itata was easily changed into Itala. But see, in defence of the old 
reading, Hug. Einl. 115.] 

[ 4 Novam vero translationem dissero ; sed ut comprobationis causa exigit, 
nunc novam, nunc veterem, per testimonia assumo : ut quia sedes apostolica 
(cui auctore Deo prsesideo) utraque utitur, mei quoque labor studii ex utraque 
fulciatur. T. i. p. 6. Opp. Paris. 1705.] 


church made use of two versions, one of which he calls the old, and 
the other the new. The old was most probably that same Italic , 
the new the Hieronymian, which presently after its publication 
began to be read in some churches, as we may collect from Augus 
tine s 10th epistle to Jerome, where he writes that some Christians 
were offended by a new word occurring in it : for in the fourth 
chapter of Jonah the old Latin edition had cucurbita (a gourd); 
but Jerome in his version made it hedera (ivy) 5 . Perhaps the 
Hebrew term does not really denote either, but a quite different 
plant called Ricinus (or Palma Christi). Now, although there were 
formerly many and almost infinite Latin versions in the Latin Church, 
yet these two were undoubtedly the most celebrated and used in the 
greatest number of churches, since we find Gregory attesting the 
use of them both in the Church of Rome. 

At length, however, not only the rest, which were more ob 
scure, but even the Italic too fell altogether out of use, and the 
Hieronymian alone prevailed everywhere throughout the Latin 
churches, if indeed it hath any just claims to be called the Hie 
ronymian. For I am well aware that there are learned men who 
entertain great doubts upon that subject : and, although most of 
the Papists, and the Jesuits especially, maintain the present Latin 
edition to be the pure Hieronymian, there are, nevertheless, amongst 
them theologians of great erudition and judgment, who determine 
quite the other way, and that upon very weighty grounds. Xantes 
Pagninus, in the Preface to his Translation, which he inscribed to 
Clement VII., declares himself of opinion that it is not Jerome s, and 
wishes earnestly that Jerome s own version were remaining. In 
like manner Paul of Forossombrone, De Die Passion. Domin. Lib. 
IT. c. 1; not to mention Erasmus, Munster, and the rest of that sort. 
Others, though they allow it to be partly the Hieronymian, yet 
think it not throughout that same version which Jerome composed 
with so much care and fidelity, but a mixture of the Hieronymian 
and some other ancient version. So John Driedo, de Catalog. Script. 
Lib. ii. c. 1 : "There are some who say that this Latin translation, 
which the whole church of the Latins commonly makes use of, is 
neither the work of St Jerome, nor in all points perfectly consonant 

[ 5 In hoc loco quidam Cantherius dudum Romse dicitur me accu- 

sasse sacrilegii, quod pro cucurbita hederam transtulerim : timens videlicet, 
ne si pro cucurbitis hedcrse nascerentur, unde occulte et tenebrose biberet 
non haberet. Hieron. Comment, in Jon. iv. Opp. vi. 425. Compare also 
his Epistle to Augustine. Ep. 112.] 



to the sacred original of scripture 1 :" and he adds that it is blamed 
and corrected, not only by Armachanus and Lyra, but also by other 
persons of the present time well skilled in both languages. After 
wards, in his first proposition, he determines that this Latin translation, 
as well of the old as of the new Testament, is neither an altogether 
different translation from Jerome s, nor yet altogether the same with 
it. Sixtus Senensis (Bibliotheca, Lib. vm) is of the same opinion, 
and confesses that he has been brought to that opinion by demon 
strative arguments. Bellarmine (Lib. n. c. 9) lays down the three 
following propositions. First, that the Books of Wisdom, Eccle- 
siasticus, Maccabees, and the Psalms, as they have them, are not 
part of Jerome s version. The former three he did not translate, 
because he judged them apocryphal. The Psalms he translated with 
the utmost care and religious scrupulousness from the Hebrew : but 
this Vulgate version (as they call it) of the Psalms was made from 
the Greek, as appears on the face of it, and as our adversaries them 
selves allow. It is even good sport to see how Genebrard, in his 
Scholia, tries to reconcile the Latin version with the Hebrew. Se 
condly, that the Latin edition of the new Testament was not made, 
but only amended, by Jerome: for Jerome, at the request of Damasus, 
corrected the old version, but did not make a new one ; as he him 
self testifies in several places, and specially in the catalogue towards 
the end. "The new Testament," says he, "I restored to the Greek 
fidelity; the old I translated according to the Hebrew 2 ." Thirdly, 
that all the other parts of the old Testament are exhibited in the 
Vulgate according to Jerome s version. 

The reasons which he alleges shew, that this is not the sincere 
Hieronymian edition of either the old or the new Testament, 
but that it may perhaps be not altogether a different version 
from the Hieronymian, as Driedo and Sixtus Senensis suppose. 
Much might be said upon this subject, but we must not spend too 
much time upon such matters. I shall, therefore, in a few words 
make it as plain as the light, that this is not the version which 
Jerome either made himself or published in an amended form. 
For, first of all, Jerome translated the old Testament accurately 
from the Hebrew, as he hath himself frequently professed and 

[* Sunt qui dicunt translationem hanc Latinam, qua communiter utitur 
tota Latinorum ecclesia, neque esse divi Hieronymi, neque in omnibus con- 
sonam scripturse sacrse original!. Opp. Lovan. 1550. T. I. p. 24.] 

[ 2 Nbvum Testamentum Grsecse fidei reddidi. Vetus juxta Hebraicam trans- 
tuli. c. 135. Opp. n. 941. The latter clause, Vetus, &c. is wanting in one MS.] 


testified. In the Preface of the Psalter to Sophronius (which is 
the Epistle 133) he writes thus of his translation : " Certainly I 
will say it boldly, and can cite many witnesses of my work, that I 
have changed nothing of the sense, at least from the Hebrew verity. 
Wherever, therefore, my edition clashes with the old ones, ask any 
Hebrew, and you will see clearly that I am unreasonably attacked by 
my rivals, who choose rather to seem despisers of what is excellent 
than to become learners 3 ." Again, in the Preface to the five books of 
Moses : " Wherever you think I go wrong in my translation, ask 
the Jews, consult the masters in various cities, &c. 4 " And in the 
preface to Kings he declares that he hath nowhere departed from 
the Hebrew verity 5 . So that Jerome everywhere most carefully 
compared and adjusted his version by the standard of the Hebrew 
books. This Augustine also (Civit. Dei, Lib. xvin. c. 43) testifies 
concerning him : " We have had in our own time the presbyter 
Jerome, a very learned man and one exquisitely skilled in the 
three languages, who hath translated the divine scriptures not 
from the Greek, but from the Hebrew, into Latin ; whose stupen 
dous literary work the Hebrews acknowledge to be faithful to the 
original 6 ." So Isidorus of Seville, in his Etymologicon, Lib. vi, c. 5, 
prefers the version of Jerome to all others, as adhering more 
closely to the words and expressing the sense with greater per 
spicuity. That such was the character of the Hieronymian version 
no man can reasonably doubt, since Jerome himself affirms it so often, 
and others agree in the same testimony. 

But now this Vulgate, which we now have, exhibits in the 
several books considerable variations from the Hebrew text, as 
Jerome himself, if he returned to life, would not be able to deny. 
Nor can they answer that the Hebrew is corrupt. For, although 

[ 3 Certe conMenter dicam, et multos liujus operis testes citabo, me niliil 
duntaxat scientem de Hebraica veritate mutasse. Sicubi ergo editio mea a 
veteribus discrepant, interroga quemlibet Hebrseorum, et liquido pervidebis, 
me ab semulis frustra lacerari, qui malunt contemnere videri prseclara, quam 
discere. Opp. T. ix. 1156.] 

[ 4 Sicubi in translatione tibi videor errare, interroga Hebrseos, diversarum 
urbium magistros consule. Ibid. 6.] 

[ 5 Quanquam mihi omnino conscius non sim, mutasse me quidpiam de 
Hebraica veritate. Ibid. 459.] 

[ 6 Non defuit temporibus nostris presbyter Hieronymus, homo doctissi- 
mus et trium linguarum peritissimus, qui non ex Grseco, sed ex Hebrseo in 
Latinum divinas scripturas converteret: cujus tantum literarum laborem 
Hebrsei fatentur esse veracem.] 



some papists do indeed say this, yet they are refuted by plain 
reason and by the authority of their own party. Bellarmine, Lib. 
IT. c. 2, defends, against Jacobus Christopolitanus and Melchior 
Canus, the integrity of the Hebrew copies, and proves by some 
arguments that they could not have been corrupted by the Jews, 
as those writers supposed. How were they corrupted? By the 
copyists? This cannot be said, since all the MSS. agree; and, 
besides, might just as well be said of the Latin as of the Hebrew 
books. Since, then, the Vulgate edition differs so greatly from the 
Hebrew, they must either pronounce the Hebrew grievously cor 
rupt (which their more prudent champions will not venture to say), 
or concede that the present Latin text is not the Hieronymian. 
Besides, Jerome in his Questions upon Genesis, his Commentaries 
on the Prophets, and his book De Optimo Genere Interpretandi, 
hath judged that many passages ought to be translated otherwise 
than we find them translated in this version. How then can that 
be called Jerome s version, which Jerome himself condemns? Now 
we could shew by many examples that many things in this version 
are censured by Jerome. But it will suffice to give a specimen in 
a few, which will be enough to establish our desired conclusion. 

Whereas we read, Gen. i., in the Vulgate edition, Spiritus Dei 
ferebatur super aquas, there is, says Jerome, in the Hebrew a term 
which means "brooded, or cherished, as a bird warms its eggs with 
animal heat 1 ." In Gen. iv. the Vulgate has, Et respexit Dominus 
ad Abel et ad munera ejus; ad Cain autem et ad munera ejus non 
respexit. Jerome thinks that the place should rather be translated, 
as Theodotion hath translated it, " And the Lord sent fire upon 
Abel and his sacrifice : but upon Cain and his sacrifice he did not 
send fire ;" which translation he pronounceth to be most exact 2 . 

In the same chapter he pronounces that clause, " Let us pass 
into the field," to be superfluous 3 , though it appears both in the 
Greek and Samaritan editions. Yet this is the same thing as the 
Vulgate exhibits in the words, Egrediamur foras. 

[! In Hebrseo habet MEREFETH, quod nos appellare possumus incubabat, 
sive confovebat, in similitudinem volucris ova calore animantis. Qusest. Hebr. 
in Genes. Opp. T. m. 306.] 

[ 2 Unde scire poterat Cain, quod fratris munera suscepisset Deus, et sua 
repudiasset ; nisi ilia interpretatio vera est, quam Theodotion posuit, Et 
inflammavit Dominus super Abel, fyc. ib. 310.] 

[3 Superfluum ergo est, quod in Samaritanorum et nostro volumine repo- 
ritur, Transeamus in campum. ib. 312.] 


In Gen. xxx. 32, where we read cunctum gregem unicolorem, 
Jerome observes that we ought to read non unicolorem* ; and so 
reason and the context require. Likewise in the first chapter of 
Isaiah, where the Vulgate hath, ut ambularetis in atriis meis, Je 
rome translates, " No longer tread my court 5 ;" and so the version, 
which we find in his works along with his Commentaries, still reads 
it. So where the Vulgate hath, facti estis mihi molesti, Jerome 
reads, facti estis mihi in satietatem. And, in the end of the chapter, 
that passage, which the Vulgate represents by cum fueritis velut 
quercus, Jerome translates, " They shall be like a terebinth 6 ." 
Examples of this kind are almost innumerable. 

Nor does this occur only in the old Testament, but in the new 
also. In the first chapter of the Galatians, the passage, Non ac- 
quievi carni et sanguini, Jerome in his Commentary says should 
be translated, "I conferred not with flesh and blood 7 ." In the 
same Epistle, chap. iii. 1, Jerome omits in his version these words, 
non credere veritati 8 , which appear in the Vulgate ; whence Eras 
mus in his Annotations writes, that this is one place out of many, 
which prove that the present edition is not altogether the same as 
Jerome s 9 . And in Eph. chap, i., Jerome blames the interpreter for 
putting pignus for arrhabo, and proves, by excellent reasons, that 
this is a false translation 10 : yet in all the books of the Vulgate 
edition we have still not arrhabo but pignus, contrary to Jerome s 
determination. Upon Eph. iv., where the vulgar copies have, qui 

|> Ibid. 352.] 

[5 Calcare atrium meum non appoiietis. Opp. T. iv. 2, 1.] 

[ 6 Jerome gives both translations : Usque hodie Judoei legentes scripturas 
sanctus terebinthus sunt, sive quercus, ut interpretatus est Symmachus. T. iv. 

[ 7 Sive, ut in Greeco melius habet: Non contuli cum came et sanguine. 
T. vii. 391.] 

[ 8 Legitur in quibusdam codicibus : Quis vos fascinavit non credere veri 
tati? Sed hoc, quia in exemplaribus Adamantii non habetur, omisimus. 
Ibid. 418.] 

[ 9 Hie est unus locus e multis, quo coarguitur hsec editio non esse tota 
Hieronymi. Etenim quum ille testetur se hanc particulam omisisse, quod in 
Adamantii codicibus non inveniretur, in nostris codicibus constanter habetur. 
Erasmi Annot. in N. T. p. 576. Basil. 1535.] 

[ 10 Pignus Latinus interpres pro arrhabone posuit. Non idipsum autem 
arrhabo quod pignus sonat. Arrhabo enim futurse emtioni quasi quoddam 
testimonium et obligamentum datur. Pignus vero, hoc est, evexvpov, pro 
mutua pecunia opponitur ; ut quum ilia reddita fucrit, reddenti debitum pig 
nus a creditore reddatur. Hieron. Opp. T. vii. 560, 561.] 


desperantes semetipsos tradiderunt impudicitice, "it is otherwise," 
says Jerome, " in the Greek. For the Gentiles do not despair, 
since they haye no sense of their ruin, but live like brute beasts ac 
cording to the flesh." And he subjoins that instead of " being in 
despair," we may read, "being without feeling 1 ." Why should I 
endeavour to go through all the rest ? It will be easier to find a 
beginning than an end. 

What Bellarmine adduces to obscure this light of truth, may be 
dispelled without difficulty. For, first, in these and innumerable other 
passages there is no error of the copyists ; for all the books, whether 
ancient or modern, agree in the reading. Next, as to the various 
signification of words, it is the duty of a good interpreter to con 
sider well what signification is most suitable, and to choose it. But 
when Jerome says plainly, that he thinks a certain place or word 
should be translated otherwise than it is translated in the Vulgate, 
it is manifest that that version cannot be Jerome s. For, as to his 
third pretence that Jerome changed his opinion, although it 
might be allowed in the case of a few passages, yet in the case of 
so many it is incredible. If he had made so many changes, he 
would have impaired, in no slight degre, the authority of his judg 
ment. Besides, in most of the instances he had no reason for 
changing. For in Gal. i. TrpoaaveOefjirjp is more correctly rendered 
"conferred," than "acquiesced." Eph. i., dppa/3wv is not the 
same as pignus, as Jerome himself hath taught us in his Commen 
taries. " A pledge," says he, " is given for money borrowed ; 
but an earnest is given as a sort of evidence and security of a 
future purchase 2 ." And Eph. iv., aTrqXyrjKOTes does not mean 
" despairing," but " being past or without feeling," as Jerome 
says. Who that reads Jerome, disputing and proving by argu 
ments, that these places should have been thus translated, can 
doubt that he translated them thus himself? Nay, it is not 
only clear that this is not Jerome s version, but manifest also 
that it is a version condemned by Jerome. 

As to Bellarmine s last excuse, that the church hath inter 
posed its authority, and judged the first version to be the truer I 
ask, when, or how the church declared that judgment? or what 
church it is that he means ? or what right any church had to 

[* Multo aliud in Grseco significat quam in Latino exprimamus 

si possimus verbum de verbo, et dicamus, dTrrjXyyKOTfs indolentes, sive indolo- 
rios. Ibid. 621.] 

[ 2 See preceding page, note 10.] 


determine a false or improper version to be truer than a true 3 and 
proper one ? 

These, to omit the rest, are sufficiently plain reasons to prove, 
that the Latin Vulgate is not that pure version which Jerome so 
diligently composed and published. Since, however, so many things 
are found in it which were in the Hieronymian, the opinion of those 
who think it made up of Jerome s and some other ancient version 
appears to commend itself to our approval. 



WE have next to discourse of the authority of this Vulgate 
edition, which point is the hinge whereupon this controversy par 
ticularly turns. Our adversaries determine that the authentic 
scripture consists not in the Hebrew and Greek originals, but in 
the Vulgate Latin version. We, on the contrary side, say that 
the authentic and divinely-inspired scripture is not this Latin, but 
the Hebrew edition of the old Testament, and the Greek of the 
new. We shall first obviate the arguments of the adversaries, and 
then produce our own. Upon this question many papists have 
written, and published works, both great and numerous ; whose 
diligence Bellarmine has sought to imitate, and endeavours to prove 
this same conclusion by the following arguments. 

He proposes his FIRST argument in this form : For nearly a 
thousand years, that is, from the time of Gregory the Great, the 
whole Latin church hath made use of this Latin edition alone. Now 
it is absurd to say, that for eight or nine hundred years together 
the church was without the true interpretation of scripture, or 
respected as the word of God, in matters pertaining to faith and 
religion, the errors of an uncertain translator, since the apostle, 
1 Tim. in., declares the church to be the pillar and ground of truth. 

[ 3 In the original, " aut quo jure potuit ulla ecclesia judicare versionem 
aut falsam aut impropriam esse falsa propriaque veriorem?" Where falsa is 
plainly a mistake, though not marked in the errata.] 


Bellarmine says that this is the argument of the council of Trent, 
and it is the same which Canus uses, Lib. n. c. 13. 

I answer, in the first place, that the Latin was not at that time 
the whole church ; for there were many and very populous 
churches of the Greeks and others. Although, therefore, the Latin 
church had erred, yet it would not follow that the whole church of 
Christ had remained for such a length of time subject to that error. 

Secondly, that the church may be deceived in the translation 
of some passages without, in the meanwhile, ceasing to be the 
church. For the church is not subverted by the circumstance, 
that some place of scripture happens to be improperly rendered ; 
and the Roman church, if it had no other errors except this 
faulty version, and if it put a sound and pious meaning upon 
this Latin scripture which it receives, might still be the church 
of Christ. The fundamental points of the faith are preserved 
intact in this Latin edition, if not everywhere, yet in very 
many places. But that church not only receives and defends 
this faulty version as the authentic scripture, but also pollutes 
by its expositions those places in it, which are well or tolerably 

Thirdly, if it were so necessary that the Latin church should 
have an authentic Latin version, which might claim equal credence 
with the originals, it would have prevailed always in the Latin 
church, not only after Gregory, but also before Gregory s time. 
But we have shewn that there were many Latin versions in the 
Latin church before Gregory, and no one in particular authentic : 
and after Gregory there was no provision made by any decree of 
the church that this Latin version should be authentic, until the 
publication of this very decree of the council of Trent. 

Fourthly, Bellarmme does not prove that the Latin church 
from the time of Gregory used this edition only. For Isidore, 
who lived after Gregory, says, Etymol. Lib. vi. c. 4, " that 
Jerome s version is deservedly preferred to all the rest 1 ." There 
were, therefore, other versions besides this of Jerome, though he 
confesses it to be the purest and best. Besides, interpreters and 
expositors, even after Gregory, do not always use to recite the 

[ l Presbyter quoque Hieronymus, trium linguarum peritus, ex Hebrseo in 
Latinum eloquium easdem scrip turas conyertit . . . cujus interpretatio merito 
ceteris antefertur. Nam est et verborum tenacior et perspicuitate senten- 
tico clarior. Madrit. 1599. p. 103. Which last are almost the very words in 
\vhich Augustine commends the old Italic, De Doctr Christ, n. 15.] 


words of scripture as they are now read in this edition, as is plain 
from Bede and Gildas, and other writers, who flourished in the 
church after Gregory. 

Fifthly, as to the passage of St Paul, we shall explain it here 
after in the proper place. 

Bellarraine draws his SECOND argument from the testimonies of 
the ancients. This version is either the Italic, which Augustine 
praises, or that of Jerome, which Damasus, and Augustine, and 
Isidore, and Rabanus, and Bernard, and others, commend and 
follow. Nor is it the Latins only who give this approbation, but 
the Greeks also, who turned out of Latin into Greek some books 
which had been translated by Jerome out of Hebrew into Latin, 
as Jerome himself testifies in his second book against Ruffinus, and 
in his Catalogue under the article SopHRONius 2 . 

I answer, first, that this argument is wholly inconclusive. For 
what if those authors praise and commend this version ? Will it 
therefore follow that this alone is authentic, or preferable to the 
originals themselves ? Nothing less. They praise it, and deserv 
edly : but yet they always prefer the originals to it. Jerome 
himself adjusted his version by the standard of the originals, and 
wished it to be judged of by that same standard. Augustine, as 
we have previously shewn, passes a long encomium upon that 
translation which the Seventy published. Will our adversaries 
thence conclude that that translation is authentic? On the con 
trary, they now esteem it very slightly. With what pertinency 
then do they allege that Jerome s version is approved by Au 
gustine and other Fathers ? Which yet was certainly never praised 
in such a manner as not to imply, that not only the originals were 
considered preferable, but even that higher praise might be deserv 
edly challenged by the translation of the Seventy elders. In a 
word, it is praised as a carefully executed translation, and is pre 
ferred to other Latin versions, but not required to be received 
as authentic scripture. Isidore, Etymol., Lib. vi. cap. 5, has these 
words : " His [Jerome s] version is deservedly preferred to the 
others 3 ;" that is, to the other versions, not to the originals them 

Secondly, his assumption that this is either the Italic or the 

[ 2 Sophronius .... opuscula mea in Grirecum eleganti sermone transtulit, 
Psaltcrium quoque et Prophetas, quos nos de Hebrseo in Latinum trans tuli- 
mus. Catalog. Scriptt. c. 134.] 

[ 3 Vide supra, pp. 131, 136,] 


Hieronymian, rests upon no certain basis. Some think it a Latin 
version of Aquila s, or Symmachus s, or Theodotion s, Greek. That 
it is not the pure text of Jerome s translation, the reasons which 
we have previously adduced establish. The argument is, therefore, 
faulty every way. 

The THIRD argument is this : The Hebrews had the authentic 
scripture in their own language, and the Greeks in theirs ; that is, 
the old Testament in the Septuagint version, and the new Tes 
tament in the original. Therefore it is fit that the Latin church 
also should have the authentic scripture in its own language. 

I answer, first, by requiring to know in what sense it is that 
he makes the Septuagint version authentic. Is it in the same 
sense in which they make their Latin text authentic? If so, I 
deny its authenticity. For Augustine, who allowed most to the 
authority of the Septuagint version, yet thought that it should be 
corrected by the originals. But the papists contend that their 
Latin text is authentic of itself, and ought not to be tried by the 
text of the originals. Now in this sense no translation ever was, 
or could be, authentic. For translations of scripture are always 
to be brought back to the originals of scripture, received if they 
agree with those originals, and corrected if they do not. That 
scripture only, which the prophets, apostles, and evangelists wrote 
by inspiration of God, is in every way credible on its own account 
and authentic. Besides, if the Septuagint was formerly authentic, 
how did it become not authentic ? At least in the Psalms it must 
continue authentic still, since they derive their Latin version of 
that book from no other source than the Greek of the Septuagint. 
Even in the other books too it must still be authentic, since it is 
plain from the commentaries of the Greek writers that it is the 
same now as it was formerly. 

Secondly, I would fain know how this argument is conse 
quential, God willed his word and authentic scripture to be written 
in Hebrew and Greek ; therefore also in Latin. The authentic 
originals of the scripture of the old Testament are extant in 
Hebrew, of the new in Greek. It no more follows from this that 
the Latin church ought to esteem its Latin version authentic, than 
that the French, or Italian, or Armenian churches should esteem 
their vernacular versions authentic. If he grant that each church 
should necessarily have authentic versions of its own, what are we 
to do if these versions should (as they easily may) disagree ? Can 
they be all authentic, and yet disagree amongst themselves ? But 


if he will not assign authentic versions to all churches, upon what 
grounds will he determine that a necessity, which he grants to 
exist in the Latin church, hath no place in others ? Cannot the 
churches of the Greeks at the present day claim their version 
likewise as authentic? 

Thirdly, I know not with what truth they call theirs the 
Latin church. For it does not now speak Latin, nor does any 
one among them understand Latin without learning that language 
from a master. Formerly it was, and was called, the Latin church. 
Now it is not Latin, and therefore cannot truly be so called, except 
upon the plea that, though not Latin, it absurdly uses a Latin 
religious service. 

The FOURTH argument is : It may happen that in general coun 
cils either very few persons, or none at all, may understand He 
brew or Greek. So Ruffinus, in his Ecclesiastical History, (Lib. x. 
c. 21), writes that no bishop was found in the council of Rimini 
who knew the meaning of the term onoovcrios. Now in such cases 
the Church s interest would be badly provided for, if it did not 
understand the authentic scripture. 

I answer, in the first place, That it is absurd to draw an 
argument against the authority or necessity of the originals from 
the ignorance of prelates and bishops. 

Secondly, There never was any general council in which some 
persons could not be found who understood the scriptures in the 
original. But it is not necessary that all who understand the 
scriptures should be masters of those languages in which they 
were first written. The true Church, indeed, hath always had, 
and still possesses, many persons well skilled in those languages. 
What sort of persons come to their councils, is no concern of 
ours. But we grant that many come who know nothing of the 
Hebrew, or Greek, or perhaps even the Latin, tongue. 

Thirdly, It is false, that no one was found in the council of 
Rimini capable of understanding the term O/ULOOIKTLOS. For there 
were present many bishops from Greece, who were well acquainted 
with the Greek language : but perhaps there were not many 
among them who exactly perceived the whole force of that term. 
Hence, suspecting that something wrong lay hid under the word, 
they rashly rejected and condemned the OUJLOOVGIOV. But this 
may happen to persons who are ever so well acquainted with the 

The FIFTH argument. It would follow that all men, who are 
not skilled in the Hebrew and Greek tongues, should always be in 


doubt whether it is the true scripture which they read. This 
argument Bellarmine hath omitted in the Sartorian edition ; having, 
perhaps, upon reflection disapproved of it. Indeed it really contributes 
nothing towards confirming the authority of the Latin version. 

However I answer, in the first place, that the Church would 
act wisely in not permitting every one to publish a new version 
at his own caprice, and taking care that all versions should be as 
pure and faithful as possible. 

Secondly, men unskilled in the tongues, although they cannot 
judge of the sense of each separate passage, whether all be cor 
rectly rendered, can yet, being instructed by the Holy Spirit, 
acknowledge and approve the doctrine. 

Thirdly, this argument no more proves the Latin to be authen 
tic than any other version, For they themselves allow vernacular 
versions to the people under certain conditions. How then do 
those who are unlearned and illiterate understand that they are 
reading the true scripture? The unlearned in our country who 
read the English version of the Ilhemists could never, if this 
argument have any weight, be certain that they read the true 
scripture. But Bellarmine hath himself renounced this argument. 

The LAST argument is : The heretics, who despise the ancient 
editions, make various and mutually discordant editions of their 
own ; so that Luther, in his book against Zwingle, was moved to 
say, that, if the world lasted long, it would again be necessary to 
receive the decrees of councils, on account of these diverse inter 
pretations of scripture. I answer, in the first place, what sort of 
an argument is this? The editions of the heretics are various 
and discordant; therefore the old Latin edition is authentic. 
Secondly, we do not approve discordant editions and versions. 
Thirdly, we make no edition authentic, save the Hebrew in the old, 
and the Greek in the new, Testament. We approve translations, 
if they agree with these standards : we reject them if they do 
not. Fourthly, as to Luther, I do not know whether he said this 
or not. The slanderous Cochlaeus hath affirmed it of him. It is a 
matter of no moment. Such then are Bellarmine s arguments. 

But Melchior Canus (Lib. n. c. 13) hath made use of some others 
in this cause, but such as perhaps the Jesuit considered too futile. 
Of this kind is this (which Canus, however, thinks a noble argu 
ment), that the scholastic theologians have followed this alone, and 
that the inquisitors of heretical pravity are wont to convince and 
condemn heretics out of it. I answer, in the first place, that those 
divines, whom they call scholastic, have drawn some most absurd 


conclusions from the Latin Vulgate edition, as appears plainly from 
their books and disputations. I could produce a great many ex 
amples. In Canticles, n. 4, the old interpreter hath translated thus : 
Ordinavit in me caritatem. Hence Thomas (I believe a thousand 
times) proves that there is a certain order and certain degrees in 
charity. That all this is true and accordant with the scriptures, 
I allow : but it is supported by no authority from this place and 
testimony ; for the words should be translated otherwise : " His 
banner towards me is charity." Again, Rom. xiii. 2 is read thus 
in the Yulgate : Quce a Deo sunt, ordinata sunt. Hence this 
same Thomas, undoubtedly the chief of all the schoolmen, collects 
in many places that all things are well and rightly constituted by 
God ; and specially in Prima Secundce, q. 102, art. 1, he proves 
from these words, that ceremonial precepts have a reason. A 
question, verily, both proposed and concluded with singular wis 
dom ! For the place is most perversely rendered by that trans 
lator ; who first omits altogether the word e^oucriai, " powers," and 
then sets a comma after a Deo, when it should have been set before 
it : not to mention that the reading is ordinata, when it should be 
ordinatce. Thus those theologians frequently abuse the errors of 
the Yulgate version, to confirm their own inventions. 



CERTAIN English popish divines, who have taken up their 
abode in the seminary of Rheims, some years since translated 
the new Testament into the English tongue, not from the Greek 
text, but from the old Latin Vulgate 1 . In order to persuade us 
of the wisdom and prudence of this proceeding, they produce in 
their preface ten reasons to prove that this Latin Vulgate edition 
is to be followed in all things rather than the Greek. We shall 
now briefly report and refute those reasons. 

[! It was first printed at Rheims in 4to in 1582. The principal transla 
tors appear to have been Allen, Martin, and Bristow.] 


I. This edition is so ancient that it hath been received in 
the church by the space of 1300 years, as appears from the fathers 
of those times. 

I answer : However ancient they make it out, yet they must 
needs confess that it is younger than the Greek edition. For the 
Greek was not only older than the Latin, but than all other ver 
sions, which are but streams derived from the fountain of the 
Greek edition. If, then, an antiquity of 1300 years commends 
the Latin version, the Greek text should be yet more strongly 
commended to us, which we gather from the genuine monuments 
of those times to have been publicly received 1500 years ago in 
the churches of Christians. And it is marvellous that these noble 
translators did not bethink themselves, when they vaunted the 
antiquity of their version, that by this plea of antiquity more was 
gained for the Greek edition, which was undoubtedly the first and 
most ancient of all, than for this Latin Vulgate, and that by their 
own shewing. 

II. This is (as is commonly thought and most probable) that 
very same version which Jerome afterwards corrected from the 
Greek, by order of Damasus, as he writes in the preface to the 
Evangelists, in the catalogue at the end, and in the 102nd Epistle. 

I answer : First, they confess it to be by no means certain 
and clear, that this Vulgate Latin edition of the new Testament is 
altogether the same as that which Jerome corrected, since they say 
that the fact rests upon common opinion and probability alone. 
Now we, not doubtfully or only with some probable shew, but 
most certainly, know that this Greek edition of the new Testament 
is no other than the inspired and archetypal scripture of the 
new Testament, commended by the apostles and evangelists to the 
Christian church. 

Secondly, Jerome s correcting the Latin edition from the Greek 
originals sufficiently shews, that the authority of the Greek is 
greater than that of the Latin edition. Jerome corrected the 
Latin from the Greek ; but our Rhemists, on the contrary, deter 
mine that the Greek should be corrected from the Latin. 

III. Consequently, it is the same which Augustine so highly 
praises and approves in a certain letter to Jerome, Ep. 10. 

I answer : In the first place, this plea depends upon the same 
opinion and conjecture as the preceding. Secondly, Augustine s 
praise is not weighty enough to constitute an edition authentic. 
He praised also the Italic and many others, but preferred the Greek 


to all, and would have them all corrected and estimated by the 
Greek. Thirdly, Augustine praised that edition, not as absolutely 
authentic, but as more faithful than the rest. 

IV. This, is that same edition which thenceforth was almost 
always used in the church-offices, in sermons, in commentaries, in 
the writings of the ancient fathers of the Latin church. 

I answer : In the first place, for two hundred years after 
Jerome, and more, it never obtained any singular prerogative and 
authority, as we have already shewn. Secondly, 1 ask, Is it any 
consequence, that, because the Latin fathers and writers have made 
special use of this, it is therefore absolutely authentic and prefer 
able to the Greek? Thirdly, Much more ought the Greek to be 
concluded authentic, which the churches of the Greeks have always 
used from the apostles times in their public liturgies, homilies, com 
mentaries, and books. 

V. The sacred council of Trent, for these and many other 
very weighty reasons, hath defined this alone of all Latin trans 
lations to be authentic. 

I answer : In the first place, that Tridentine Synod hath no 
authority with us. Secondly, What right had it to define this ? 
Thirdly, It hath proposed no grounds of this decree, except this 
only, that that edition had been for a long time received in the 
church ; which reason, at least, every one must perceive to be 
unworthy of such great divines. Fourthly, I desire to know whe 
ther the council of Trent only commanded this Latin edition to be 
considered the authentic one amongst Latin editions, or determined 
it to be absolutely authentic ? For if it only preferred this one to 
other Latin translations, that could be no reason to justify the 
llhemists in not making their version of the new Testament from 
the Greek ; since the council of Trent prefers this, not to the Greek 
edition, but to other Latin translations. Do they, then, make both 
this Latin and that Greek edition authentic, or this Latin only ? 
Indeed, they express themselves in such a manner as not to deny 
the authenticity of the Greek, while nevertheless they really hold 
no edition of either old or new Testament authentic, save this Latin 
Vulgate only. This is the judgment of these Rhemists who have 
translated the new Testament from the Latin ; and this the Jesuits 
defend most strenuously, maintaining that, where the Latin differs 
from the Greek or Hebrew, we should hold by the Latin rather 
than the Greek or Hebrew copies. And it is certain that this is 
now the received opinion of the papists. 


VI. It is, of all others, the weightiest, purest, most venerable 
and impartial. 

I answer : 1. That all these virtues must needs be still greater 
in the Greek edition, which is that of the apostles and evangelists, 
and, finally, of the Holy Ghost himself, than in the Latin, which 
cannot derive the beginning of its credit and dignity higher than 
from the time and person of Jerome. 2. In many places it is 
absurd and erroneous, as will hereafter be shewn ; and therefore, 
in such cases, destitute of weight, and majesty, and purity. 

VII. It agrees so exactly and thoroughly with the Greek, in 
regard both of the phrases and the words, that the fastidious here 
tics have blamed it on that account as rude and unskilful. 

I answer : 1. That it is no great praise to be rude and 
unskilful. 2. If it deserves commendation for agreeing and cor 
responding remarkably with the Greek, then it follows that the 
Greek itself is still more deserving of commendation. 3. It differs 
from the Greek in many places, as we shall see hereafter. 

VIII. The adversaries themselves, and Beza in particular, 
prefer this to all the rest. See his Preface to the new Testament, 
published in the year 1556. And elsewhere he says, that the old 
interpreter translated very religiously. Annot. in 1 Luc. v. 1. 

I answer : Although Beza hath preferred it to other versions 
in the translation of certain places, and said that the old interpreter 
seems to have translated the sacred books with religious care ; yet it 
never came into his mind to prefer that Latin edition to the Greek, 
or to make it authentic, or pronounce that the Latin translator never 
erred. Nay, in this very place he blames the old interpreter for 
not understanding the difference between 7r\t]po<popia and TTCTTOL- 
Orjais. If Beza had thought this as perfect as they would have 
it, he would never have published a new translation of his own. 

IX. In other translations there is the greatest difference and 

I answer : 1. If it were agreed that this is better than all 
other translations, what would that be to the purpose ? For it 
does not therefore follow, either that the Latin is authentic, or that 
the Ehemists ought to have translated the new Testament from 
the Latin, and not from the Greek. 2. They cannot find so great 
a difference between our versions, as there is between their Latin 
Vulgate and the Greek edition. 3. Although some of our trans 
lations differ in some places, yet those places are not numerous, 
nor is the difference dangerous ; since we do not say that one should 


stand by these translations as of themselves authentic, but appeal 
to the originals alone as truly authentic. 

X. It is not only better than all other Latin versions, but 
preferable even unto the Greek edition itself in those places where 
they differ. 

I answer : 1. Hence it appears what value these men set 
upon the Greek edition, who maintain that the Latin is superior to 
it in all those places where any discrepancy is found. 2. How 
false is this assertion we shall hereafter shew, and many other writers 
have already often and copiously demonstrated. 



IT remains that we should shew by good and solid reasons, 
that this Latin Vulgate edition is not to be esteemed authentic 
scripture. Upon which subject I might use many words, and 
adduce many arguments; but I shall endeavour to cut off all 
matters of inferior importance, and concern myself only with those 
things which are fitted to the immediate cause and question. 

The first argument. Jerome, who either made or amended 
this edition, did not himself deem it authentic, although it was then 
in a much purer state than it is at present. Nay, he left it to 
his readers to choose in many places between different interpre 
tations, being doubtful whether they were rightly understood and 
rendered by himself. Sometimes he even ingenuously confesses 
that he hath translated otherwise than the Hebrew verity required. 
So Jonah iv. he translates "ivy/ 5 following Aquila, not " a gourd" 
with the Septuagint ; whereas in his Commentary on Jonah he 
teaches us that neither ivy nor gourd can be really denoted by 
the word. " For," says he, " gourds and ivy are naturally prone 
to creep upon the earth, and cannot gain any height without props 
and stays to support them 1 ." But he testifies that the shrub 
which the Lord prepared for Jonah supports itself by its own 

[* Cucurbita et hedera hujus naturce sunt ut per terrain reptent, et absque 
furcis vel adminiculis quibus innituntur altiora non appetant. T. vi. p. 426.] 

r , 10 



stem, and grows commonly in Palestine. If, therefore, Jerome 
hath not ventured to defend that edition everywhere, and in some 
places owns that it is very wide of the true sense of the Hebrew, 
it follows that it is not to be taken for authentic. Assuredly 
Jerome never even so much as dreamed, that a time would come 
when the church would receive his translation for authentic scrip 
ture. Since, therefore, our opponents ascribe this version to 
Jerome, and deem it to be commended by his authority, it is 
fair that in this question they should be ruled by the testimony 
and judgment of Jerome, and learn from Jerome himself that it 
is not authentic. 

The second argument. If this Latin edition were authentic, 
then the Latin church would have presently received it as authentic. 
The validity of the consequence may be perceived from the follow 
ing consideration: Jerome, as they say, translated the old Tes 
tament, and corrected the new, at the request of Damasus. Where 
fore, if he had made this Latin edition, and delivered it to the 
church with the intention that it should everywhere be esteemed 
authentic scripture in the Latin churches ; then it would have been 
forthwith received and approved by the judgment of the church 
and the order of the pontiff. But such was not the case. For 
in the time of pope Gregory, who lived in the Latin church more 
than two hundred years after Jerome, that version could not 
maintain exclusive sway, even in the Roman church, or be esteemed 
authentic, as is evident from Gregory s Preface to Job, c. v. If 
then it was neither published to serve as authentic, nor then held 
authentic when it was sounder and purer than it is at present, no 
one can, without extreme injustice, require us to reverence and 
follow it as authentic. 

The third argument. Jerome himself, whom these men make 
either the author or corrector of this edition, blames many things 
in it. Therefore he by no means deemed it authentic. The ante 
cedent hath been proved by many previous testimonies; and the 
consequent needs no proof. For, if Jerome found and remarked 
many errors in this edition, it is certain that it could not have been 
regarded by him as either authentic or true. Now Jerome, in 
his Traditions upon Genesis and other books, shews many faults 
of this edition, which are still found in it. And, as to the answer 
of our adversaries, that Jerome in his Commentaries judged some 
things to be wrongly translated, which afterwards, when he came 
to publish that Latin edition, he perceived to be quite correctly 


rendered, and therefore did not change ; this pretence, I say, may 
be easily refuted, if we will only remember that those Comment 
aries upon the Prophets, in which he often blames this Vulgate 
version, are later than that edition, as manifestly appears from 
Jerome s own words at the end of the Catalogue 1 . 

The fourth argument. Jerome was neither a prophet, nor en 
dowed with a prophetic spirit. It is one thing to be a prophet, 
and another to be an interpreter of prophetic writings. So Jerome 
himself, in the Preface to the Pentateuch : " It is one thing to be 
a prophet, and another to be an interpreter. In the former case, 
the Spirit predicted future events ; in the latter, learning and 
copious command of words translates what it understands 2 ." Hence 
a conclusive argument may be formed. Since the Vulgate edition 
is nothing more than a version, it is not of itself authentic or 
inspired scripture. For it is the function of an interpreter to 
translate the authentic scripture, not to make his own translation 
authentic scripture. Now Jerome both might, and did err in 
translating. That he might have erred no one doubts, and Au 
gustine in his 8th Epistle to Jerome takes it for granted. That 
he did err, Jerome himself ingenuously acknowledges in many 
places. Nay, though we were to suppose that Jerome never erred 
in translating, yet what answer can our adversaries give as to 
the Vulgate Latin version of the Psalms, which is widely different 
from the Hieronymian version ? Finally, what account can they 
give of those parts of the Latin edition which are read in the 
Latin Bibles from the Greek version of Theodotion, a man most 
averse from the Christian faith ? Will they affirm that Theodotion 
too, from whom they have received some of the fragmentary 
pieces in their collection, as either interpreter or author, was en 
dowed with a prophetic spirit? I trow not. Wherefore this 
Latin edition, being put together by persons who both could and 
did err, cannot possibly be the authentic word of God and inspired 

And, whereas our adversaries object that, although Jerome 
was himself obnoxious to error, yet his version was approved by 
the church ; I answer first, that our assertion is not only 
that Jerome might have erred, but also that he hath committed 

[ l (Vetus Testamentum) juxta Hebraicam transtuli .... multaque alia de 
opere prophetali, quse mine habeo in manibus. T. n. p. 941.] 

[ 2 Aliud est esse vatem, aliud esse interpretem. Ibi Spiritus ventura prse- 
dixit; hie eruditio et yerborura copia ea quse intelligit transfert.] 



great errors in this version, if it be his version ; and this assertion 
we shall presently prove. Therefore if the church approved this 
version, it approved very many errors of translation. Secondly, 
the church hath not power of approving any man s translation, 
however accurate, in such a manner as to pronounce it alone to be 
authentic scripture, and preferable to the sacred originals them 
selves. For authentic scripture must proceed immediately from 
the Holy Ghost himself; and therefore Paul says that all scripture 
is divinely inspired, 2 Tim. iii. 16. Now Jerome s translation is 
not divinely inspired ; therefore it is not authentic scripture. 
Thirdly, the church hath never approved nor received as authentic 
this Latin edition before the very recent council of Trent. For 
if the church had ever approved it before, so many learned and 
catholic men would not have blamed this Latin version, as Lyra, 
Paul of Bruges, Richard of Armagh, Valla, Eugubinus, Isidore 
Clarius, John Isaac, Cajetan, Erasmus, Jacques De-Ferre, Ludo- 
vicus Vives, Lucas of Bruges, and many more. The Latin church 
did indeed use this version, because it was needful that Latin 
churches should have some Latin edition of the scriptures; but it 
never before made it authentic or canonical. Now first, in the 
Tridentine synod, we are commanded to receive the old Latin 
version as our authentic scripture. Whence we perceive that their 
authentic scripture is only the version, such as it is, of Jerome and 
others, one knows not whom. Their Moses, their prophets, their 
apostles, their evangelists, yea, their Christ, is Jerome : for, in 
receiving his writings as authentic, they attribute to him what 
truly appertains to Moses, the prophets, the apostles, the evange 
lists, and Christ. 

The fifth argument. If God had permitted the scripture to 
perish in the Hebrew and Greek originals, in which it was first 
published by men divinely inspired, he would not have provided 
sufficiently for his church and for our faith. From the prophetic 
and apostolic scripture the church takes its origin, and the faith 
derives its source. But whence can it be ascertained that these 
are in all respects prophetic and apostolic scriptures, if the very 
writings of the prophets and apostles are not those which we con 
sult ? What reason can be alleged, why the authentic word of 
God should perish in those languages in which it was first pub 
lished, and become authentic in a new tongue, into which it was 
translated by a man who was no prophet ? or why in the Latin, 
rather than in any other language ? 


The sixth argument. The ancient fathers of the Latin church 
did not all follow one edition, namely, Tertullian, Cyprian, Arno- 
bius, Lactantius, Victorias, Hilary, Ambrose, Augustine, Jerome 
himself, Leo, Gregory, Bede. Therefore there was not then one 
authentic edition through so many ages of the church. Which 
since experience shews to be a cerCain fact, why now must Latins 
have one authentic Latin edition ? It might rather seem to have 
been more necessary then that there should have been one 
authentic edition, because there were then more Latin versions 
than there are now : for Augustine says that in his time they 
were innumerable (Doct. Christ. Lib. n. c. 11) ; but those which 
are now extant may be easily counted. Yet the council of Trent 
willed that one out of many should be held authentic ; and Andra- 
dius (Defen. Trid. Lib. iv.) says that the synod acted wisely in 
determining that, out of the many which are now in men s hands, 
one should become and be esteemed authentic. If this be a good 
reason an adequate cause it was much more fit that there 
should have been one authentic edition in those times in which 
many more versions than now were everywhere in the hands of 

The seventh argument. I ask whether the council of Trent 
made this Latin edition authentic, or only declared it to be so ? 
The reason of this question is, because they say that they receive 
the books of scripture from the church, not that they may be 
come canonical and most holy, but that they may be so esteemed, 
as we shall hear afterwards. Is this Latin edition therefore now 
made by them authentic, or is it only declared to be authentic ? 
If they say that it is now made authentic, it will follow that it was 
not authentic before. Then by what right could they make a 
non-authentic edition become authentic? In the same way it will 
be lawful for them to convert a book, which is not sacred, into 
sacred and canonical : which yet they profess not to arrogate to 
themselves the power of effecting, But if they only declared this 
edition authentic, let them tell us when it first began to be authentic. 
For at first, as we have shewn, it was not authentic. It behoves 
them therefore to let us know when, and from whom, it received 
the privilege of authenticity, if they will not profess that it was 
made authentic by themselves. 

The eighth argument. The Latin Vulgate edition is in many 
places utterly barbarous aud full of solecisms : whence we collect 
that its author was very careless. I readily acknowledge that the 
style of scripture is simple and unadorned ; and am so far from 


blaming it, that I admire it rather as divine. But in the authen 
tic original scriptures you shall never find such barbarity and 
disgraceful solecisms as are everywhere occurring in the Latin 
Vulgate. Gen. xxi. 26 : Non audivi prceter hodie. Gen. xlii. 13 : 
Alius non est super, for super est. Ps. Ixvii. 20 : Benedictus 
Dominus die quotidie. Ps. cxxv. 1 : In convertendo Dominus 
captivitatem Sion facti sumus sicut consolati. Matt. xxii. : Neque 
nubent neque nubentur. Matt. vi. : Nonne vos magis pluris estis 
illis ? Matt. xx. : Films hominis non venit ministrari. Luc. vii. : 
Lamentavimus vobis. Luc. xxi. : Omnis populus manicabat ad 
eum. John xv. : Ut fructum plus afferat. Acts iii. : Poenitemini. 
James i. : Deus intentator est malorum. These are expressed in 
the original quite otherwise, and with sufficient purity and elegance. 
Matt. xxii. 30 : oure yafj-ovaiv OUTC eKyaimi^ovTai. Matt. vi. 26 : 
o v% v/ueT? fjiciXXov $ia(j)pT avTwv ; Matt. xx. 28 : o yios TOV 
dvOpcoTrov OVK rj\0e ciaicovrjOrjvai d\\a cictKovrjaraii Luke vii. 32 : 
eOprjvqaaiJLev VJLLIV. Luke xxi. 38 : Tray o Xaos wpOpi^e Trpos 
CLVTOV. John xv. 2 : iva 7r\eiova KapTrov <j)eprj. Acts iii. 19 : 
fjiTavor]<7aT. James i. 13 : o Geos cnreipaGros ecrrt TWV KctKcov. 
In these Greek expressions there is no lack either of purity or of 
elegance. But the Latin are such that nothing can be conceived 
more barbarous or absurd. Assuredly the Holy Spirit is never 
wont to speak so barbarously and foolishly. For though there be in 
the holy scriptures some pendent sentences, and inversions, and ap 
parent solecisms, and other things of that kind, yet the same may be 
found in the most eloquent and approved authors ; so that nothing 
occurs in the originals, as far as the style and diction are con 
cerned, for which one cannot find a parallel in some approved 
writer. But those Latin expressions are strange and unparalleled ; 
nor did ever any man speak in this style, who knew or cared how 
to speak. Jerome, in his letter to Paulinus, says that this 
rudeness, which is found in versions of the scriptures, hath occurred 
partly through the fault of the translators. It is a fault therefore 
to translate foolishly and awkwardly what is capable of being 
neatly rendered ; and the examples adduced shew it to be a fault 
into which this interpreter hath fallen. It is true indeed that 
every thing, especially in sacred writings, must not be brought 
strictly to the rules of Donatus 1 , as Gregory reminds us in his 
preface to Job : but the scriptures, though never superstitiously 
exact, are everywhere clear and pure, and, I will add too, elo 
quent. So writes Augustine (Doct. Christ. Lib. iv. c. 6) excel- 
t 1 A famous grammarian.] 


lently well : " Here perhaps some one may ask whether our 
writers are only to be styled wise, or to be called eloquent also ?" 
Which question Augustine answers thus : " Where I understand 
them, nothing can seem not only wiser but more eloquent than 
they are. And I venture to say, that all who rightly understand 
what they say, understand at the same time that they ought to 
have said it in no other manner 2 ." He observes that there is one 
kind of eloquence which becomes youth, and another which is suit 
able to age ; and that nothing, which is not suited to the person of 
the speaker, can deserve to be called eloquence : in a word, that 
there is a certain kind of eloquence suitable to divine writings, and 
that the sacred writers possess this kind of eloquence. Any other 
would not have become them, nor this any other writers. 

The ninth argument. The Papists themselves maintain that the 
originals are useful ; but the points of utility which they enumerate 
prove the originals to be even necessary, and that the original 
scripture in both testaments is more authentic than the Latin 
edition. Bellarmine tells us of four occasions upon which we may 
recur to the Hebrew and Greek originals. 1. Where there seems 
to be a mistake of the transcribers in the Latin copies ; of which 
he produces some examples, and of which very many might be 
produced. 1 Sam xix. 24, the Vulgate had for many ages, 
Cecinit nudus iota ilia die. If you look at the Hebrew original, 
you will see that one should read cecidit, not cecinit. Yet they 
persist in retaining the latter (cecinit) in the text, and write cecidit 
in the margin. Ecclus. xxiv. 30, the old edition hath, and hath 
had this long time back, Ego quasi fluvius Dorix. If you ask 
what river that is, Rabanus tells you in his commentary upon 
this place, that there is a river in Armenia which is called the 
Dorix. But the Louvain editors have noted that we should read 
vorax ; and Bellarmine corrects it from the Greek, Ego quasi 
fluvius Dioryx. For " Siwpvj;," says he, " signifies a trench 
dug from a river to irrigate the ground." Be it so : but what 
Latin writer ever used this term? or what are we to think of 

[ 2 Hie aliquis forsitan quaerit, utrum auctores nostri sapientes tan- 

tummodo, an eloquentes etiam nuncupandi sunt. Quee quidem qusestio apud 
meipsum, et apud eos qui mecum quod dico sentiunt, facillime solvitur. 
Nam ubi eos intelligo, non solum nihil eis sapientius, verumetiam nihil 
cloquentius mihi videri potest. Et audeo dicere omnes, qui recte intelligunt 
quod illi loquuntur, simul intelligere non eos aliter loqui debuisse. T. in. 
p. 88. Bassan. 1797.] 


such a Latin version? or, if this be the true reading, why is not 
the old one corrected, but even still, when the error hath been 
detected, left to remain in their books ? Ecclus. xlv. 6 : it is read 
in the Vulgate, and so in the old missals, Dedit ei cor ad prce- 
cepta. But the Louvain editors have corrected the place thus, 
coram prcecepta ; and Bellarmine approves that emendation, since 
the Greek exhibits /card TrpocrtoTrov 1 , and says that it is now so 
corrected in the new missals. But why is it not amended in the 
Bibles ? Is this your solicitude, to have your missals more correct 
than your Bibles ? So again the old books exhibit that place in 
Psal. xli., ad Deum fontem vivum 2 : but Bellarmine thinks it 
might safely be changed to ad Deum fortem vivum, as is plainly 
required by the evidence of the Hebrew and Greek copies. Yet, 
though this be certainly the case, they still retain fontem in the 
text, and only set fortem in the margin. Again, Deut. iv. 23 3 , the 
old Latin books have sulphure et solis ardore comburens ; whereas 
the Hebrew text shews that the true reading is salis, not solis : 
which error I am surprised that the Louvain editors did not per 
ceive, and correct at least in the margin. An infinite number of 
other like examples might be given ; and Canus (Lib. n. c. 15) 
hath adduced many in which it is obviously evident that the Latin 
edition is corrupt, and requires to be corrected from the Hebrew 
and Greek originals. Do we not hence see that the original edi 
tion possesses greater purity and authority than this Vulgate 
Latin ? The Latin books must be corrected from the originals, 
not the originals from the Latin edition : therefore the Latin edi 
tion is less authentic than the original scripture. 

Bellarmine s second occasion is, when the Latin copies present 
such various readings as to make it impossible to determine which 
is the true. For example, in Joshua v. some copies of the Vul 
gate edition have 4 , Quibus juravit ut ostenderet eis terram ; 
others, ut non ostenderet, with a directly contrary sense. The 
latter, says Bellarmine, is said to be the truer, because in the 

[} Kal e8(OKv avTo> Kara 7rp6(TQ)7rov eVroXas 1 , vopov fatjs KOI cirtOTqfjajs. Ec- 
clus. xlv. 5, ed. Grabe.] 

[ 2 Ps. xlii. 2, in the Hebrew? TT /^/. In the Greek, npbs rbv Qebv rbv 

[ 3 This is a mistake. The true reference is Deut. xxix. 22, where the 
Hebrew is, HEnitf rf?B 

[4 ver. 6. DriiniDn nvr 



Hebrew text the negative is constantly added. Why then do 
their books retain the former, which they themselves know and 
confess to be false ? So again, Josh. xi. 5 , some copies have, Non 
fuit civitas quce non se traderet ; some, on the contrary, quce se 
traderet. And this is affirmed to be the truer reading, because it 
agrees with the Hebrew and is required by the context. So 
Luke i. 6 in the common books we read, JRedemptionem plebis 
suce : but it is evident that we should read plebi suce, because 
the Greek is rw \aw avrov. Thus they allow that their Latin 
edition, which they determine to be alone authentic, hath in it 
many things not only futile, but even utterly wrong, and that it 
may be judged of and corrected by the originals. Meanwhile, 
however, errors of this kind are not removed, but preserved in 
their Bibles. Who, then, will not much rather trust the originals 
than this Vulgate edition ? 

The third occasion is, when the Latin copies have something 
ambiguous, either in the expression or in the sense. Bellarmine 
gives some examples : one is taken from Luke ii. 7 , Hominibus 
bonce voluntatis. The words, bonce voluntatis, may be referred, 
he thinks, either to homines, or to pax, but more correctly to the 
latter ; so that the sense shall be, " on earth peace to men, peace 
(I say) of the good- will of God towards men." For evSoKia is the 
good-will of God towards men. If this be true, as Bellarmine justly 
deems, our Rhemists have erred grossly, in gathering from this 
place a proof of the freedom of the human will. 

Fourthly, we may recur to the original, in order to discover 
the full energy and propriety of the terms : which opens to us a 
very wide door. For in the well-spring every thing is more 
emphatic than in the streams of the translations ; which not a 
little illustrates their inferior excellence and dignity. 

Melchior Canus, Lib. n. c. 15, sets forth many advantages which 
attend a knowledge of the originals. First, when we dispute with 
infidels. Secondly, when we wish to explain the peculiar emphasis 
of terms. Thirdly, to help us to a number of meanings. Fourthly, 
to give us an acquaintance with the idioms, phrases, and proverbs, 
of a foreign tongue. Fifthly, to correct errors. Sixthly, to shew 
us the meaning of some places which cannot be explained without a 
knowledge of languages. Seventhly, to escape the doubtfulness 

[ 5 ver. 19.] 

[ 6 V. 68, fTToirjo-c \vrpaxnv rw Aao> avrov. ] 

[* v. 14, where the Vulgate reads 


and ambiguity of the Latin. Eighthly, to give us right interpre 
tations of some terms in common use, as Anathema, Maranatha, and 
the like. That all these advantages may be obtained from the 
originals, they allow. Consequently, I may argue thus from their 
own confession : That edition which is corrupt, faulty, ambiguous, 
futile, and neither explains the meaning nor teaches the majesty of 
the Holy Spirit, nor hath light enough in itself to illustrate the 
diction and sense of scripture, is not authentic. Now the Latin 
Vulgate edition is such, by the ingenuous confession of our adver 
saries themselves. Therefore it is not authentic : and consequently 
the Hebrew and Greek are authentic ; because not only are they 
free from those faults and disadvantages with which the Latin is 
replete, and adorned with all those privileges which are by no 
means conceded to the Latin, but even they, who press the Latin 
edition upon us as authentic, are compelled to have recourse to the 
Hebrew and Greek, and appeal to them as to a superior judge. 

And now I would desire to put this question to them : Since 
the Louvain divines have found many mistakes and faults in their 
Latin Bibles, and have indicated them in the margin, what reading 
is it which they determine to be authentic the old one of the text, 
or the new one of the margin ? If the old, why have they branded 
it, and changed it in their missals ? If the new, why do they not 
receive it into the text, but leave it to stand, as it were, without 
upon the threshold ? I will make the matter plain by a single 
example. In Proverbs xvi. 11, the old copies of the Latin edition 
have this reading ; " Pondus et statera judicia Dei sunt, et opera 
ejus omnes lapides seculi." They now perceive that it should be 
read, " et opera ejus omnes lapides sacculi;" for the Hebrew word 
denotes a scrip, or purse, or little bag 1 . Here there is no doubt 
that the reading seculi is erroneous. Yet the author of the Com 
mentary upon Proverbs, which appears amongst the works of 
Jerome, reads seculi, and explains "the stones of eternity" to 
mean just men and strong in faith. No doubt a most brave expo 
sition ! Innumerable similar instances might be found in Latin 
authors, who, for the last thousand years, and from the time that 
this version began to prevail in the Latin churches, deluded by 
the mistakes and faults of this edition, have invented absurd opi 
nions and interpretations in consequence. So that passage in Wis 
dom, xii. 15, which the Louvain editors now read thus in their 


Bibles, " Qui non debet puniri, condemnare exterum aestimas a 
virtute tua 2 ," was formerly read thus : " Qui non debet puniri, 
condernnas, et exterum aestimas a tua virtute." For Gregory upon 
Job (Lib. in. c.,11) understands it of God the Father, who deli 
vered up to death Christ, the most righteous of all men, and 
deserving of no punishment. Thus this fault hath remained more 
than a thousand years in the Latin books. Wherefore, if that 
reading be false (as it certainly is), then the Latin church hath 
followed a false, and consequently by no means authentic, reading, 
in an infinite number of places, for of such places the number is 
infinite. So Canticles ii. at the end, the old books have " Super 
montes Bethel." But the Louvain critics bid us read Bether for 
Bethel ; which is confirmed also by the Hebrew verity. Yet Gre 
gory, a thousand years ago, read the text just as it used to be read 
in their corrupt copies ; from which circumstance we may perceive 
the great antiquity of that corruption. For, in his Commentary 
upon the Canticles, he interprets Bethel in this place to mean the 
church, as that in which God dwells. Thus almost all the Latin 
expositors read and expound that place, in which, nevertheless, 
unless by means of a corruption, no mention of Bethel can be 

The tenth argument. That scripture which was authentic for 
the old Testament before Christ, and for both old and new six 
hundred years after Christ, should now also be deemed authentic 
by us. Now the Hebrew edition of the old, and the Greek of the 
new Testament, was always held the authentic scripture of God in 
the Christian churches for six hundred years after Christ. This, 
therefore, ought to be received by us also as authentic scripture. 
If they doubt the major, we must ask them, Whether the church 
hath changed its authentic scripture, or hath not rather preserved, 
and commended to all succeeding generations, that which was in 
truth authentic from the very first? If it lost that which was 
published by the prophets and apostles, who can defend that neg 
ligence, who excuse so enormous a sacrilege? If it lost it not, 
then let it deliver to us the writings of the prophets and apostles, 
and approve them by its testimony as the authentic word of God ; 
not substitute for this divinely-promulgated scripture a mere trans 
lation of it into Latin, not made by either prophets or apostles ; 
nor persuade us that such a document as this is the authentic word 

[ 2 In the Greek, rbv ^rj o^)iXoj/Ta Ko\a<r0r)vai KaraStmo-at aXkorptov q 
rfjs (rfjs 


of God. In which proceeding they really assume to themselves 
the privilege of doing that which they allow themselves incompe 
tent to do. For those who make scripture authentic, make it 
canonical ; since it is only authentic scripture that is canonical, and 
it is canonical, because it is authentic. Now they have made their 
scripture authentic, forasmuch as it was not authentic previously. 
Therefore they make scripture canonical ; which yet they confess 
not to be placed in the power and judgment of the church. 

To return to the argument. I suppose that no one doubts the au 
thenticity of the Hebrew edition of the old Testament in Christ s time. 
But now it may be demonstrated by many testimonies of the fathers, 
that the Hebrew edition of the old, and the Greek of the new 
Testament, was held authentic in the church for many ages after 
Christ. Jerome, in his book against Helvidius, writes thus : " We 
must suppose that the water of the fountain ran much clearer than 
that of the stream 1 ." The same author, in his letter to Sunnia and 
Fretella, observes : " As in the new Testament we recur to the 
fountain of the Greek language, in which the new Testament is 
written, so in the old Testament we recur to the Hebrew verity 2 ." 
So, in his letter to Marcella, at the end of the second volume : "I 
wish to recal the corruption of the Latin copies to the Greek ori 
ginal 3 ." And in his Preface to the Pentateuch he rejects as absurd 
the opinion of those persons, who said that the Latin copies were 
more correct than the Greek, and the Greek than the Hebrew. 

To the same effect in his Commentary on Zechariah, chap. viii. : 
"We are compelled to have recourse to the Hebrews, and to seek 
certain knowledge of the truth from the fountain rather than from 
the streamlets 4 ." Yea, in his Epistle to Vitalis he writes that he 
was wont to betake himself to the Hebrew verity, as a sort of 
citadel and fortress 5 . To this we may add the consideration, that 

[! Multo purior manare credenda est fontis unda quam rivi.] 

[ 2 Sicut in novo Testamento .... recurrimus ad fontem Grseci sermonis, 
quo novum scriptum est instrumentum; ita in veteri Testamento ad Hebraicam 
veritatem confugimus. T. i. p. 637.] 

[ 3 Latinorum codicum vitiositatem ad Grsecam originem volui revocare. 
T. I. p. 132.] 

[ 4 Cogimur ad Hebrseas recurrere, et scientise veritatem de fonte magis 
quam de rivulis quserere. T. vi. p. 851.] 

[5 Si quidem in historiis aliter haberent LXX. interpretes, aliter Hebraica 
veritas ; confugere poteramus ad solita prsesidia, et arcem linguae tenere ver- 
naculee. T. i. p. 434.] 


Damasus urged Jerome to the task of correcting the new Testa 
ment from the Greek ; that prelate being sufficiently aware that 
the Greek deserved to be preferred by a great deal to all the 
Latin copies. Much to the same purpose may be found in Am 
brose, de Spiritu Sancto, Lib. n. c. 6 6 , and in his book, de Incarn. 
Domin. Sacram. c. 8 7 : also in Augustine de Doctr. Christ. Lib. n. 
c. 7 8 , and elsewhere. From Augustine, Gratian hath transcribed 
in his Decree what we read Dist. 9, cap. Ut veterum : " As the 
correctness of the old books is to be estimated by the Hebrew 
volumes, so the truth of the new requires the standard of the 
Greek text 9 ." Also, in his City of God (Lib. xv. c. 13), Augustine 
makes a large defence of the Jews, and reminds us, that " we 
must not trust a translation so implicitly as the language from 
which interpreters made that translation into a different one 10 ." 
Ludovicus Vives thus comments upon that chapter : " The same 
answer may be given to those who object that the MSS. of the old 
Testament have been falsified and corrupted by the Jews, and 
those of the new by the Greeks, to prevent us from seeking the 
true sense of the sacred books from those originals 11 ." 

But our adversaries allow that what the fathers write of the 
authority of the originals was true indeed formerly ; and they 
would not deny that we ought to do the same, if the Hebrew and 
Greek originals were still uncontaminated. But they maintain 
that those originals are now corrupted, and that therefore the 
Latin streamlet is deserving of more regard than the ancient well- 
spring. Hence it is now the earnest effort of the popish theolo 
gians, and the champions of the council of Trent, to persuade us 
of the depravation of the original scriptures. In the conduct of 
which argument, however, some are more keen and impudent than 

[ 6 Lib. n. c. 5. 42. T. VI. Paris. 1839. p. 341.] 

[ 7 82. p. 475, ut supra. Ita enim et in Grsecis codicibus invenimus, 
quorum potior auctoritas est.] 

[ 8 c. 13. ed. Bruder. Lipsise, 1838.] 

[ 9 Ut veterum librorum fides de Hebrseis voluminibus examinanda est, 
ita novorum Grseci sermonis normam desiderat. Decret. p. 1. Dist. ix. c. vi. 
The title does indeed ascribe these words to Augustine, but the note, more 
correctly, to Jerome, Epist. 28. ad Lucmium Bseticum.] 

[ 10 Ei linguse potius credatur, unde est in aliam per interpretes facta 

[ n Hoc idem responderi potest his qui falsatos corruptosque et ab Hebrseis 
codices veteris instrumenti, et a Grsecis novi objiciunt, ne veritas sacrorum 
librorum ex illis fontibus petatur. Ludoy. Vives, Annot. p. 459. ed. Froben.] 


others. For Lindanus, De optimo Genere Inter., Lib. i. c. 11, and 
Canus, Lib. u. c. 13, pretend most slanderously that the originals 
are utterly corrupted. But others come to much more moderate 
and equitable conclusions. Neither party, however, can do any 
thing really serviceable to the cause of the authentic authority 
of the Latin edition, until they can shew us that not only the 
originals are corrupt in some places, but even generally more 
corrupt than the Latin copies ; which is beyond what any papist 
hitherto hath hoped to demonstrate. Bellarmine is of the number 
of those who treat the originals with some respect; and conse 
quently he refutes the opinion of Lindanus and Canus. Neverthe 
less, lest he should seem not to approve the Tridentine Decree, he 
maintains that there are some corruptions in the original text. Let 
us see what sort of corruptions he speaks of. 

In order, then, to shew that the Hebrew originals are not 
absolutely pure, Bellarmine proposes five places, which he thinks 
undoubtedly corrupt. The first place is Is. ix. 6, where he says 
that we should read, " He shall be called Wonderful ;" as Calvin 
also contends. But the Hebrew text not only does not exhibit 
jikkare, [N"]|^] "he shall be called," but does exhibit jikra, [iOjp?] 
"he shall call." I answer; first, as to the sense, it makes no differ 
ence whether we read, " His name shall be called Wonderful," or 
" He shall call (i. e. God the Father shall call) his name Wonderful." 
So Junius and Tremellius have rendered it, in conformity with the 
present Hebrew reading, "vocat;" which they would not have 
done, if they had supposed that there was any important difference 
in the sense. Secondly, the opinion of some, that we should rather 
read in the passive than in the active, does not prove the originals 
to be corrupted. The points indeed require the latter reading, 
but the letters will bear either. Thirdly, the Hebrew doctors tell 
us, as Vatablus observes upon this place 1 , that verbs of the third 
person are often used impersonally by the Hebrews, as " he shall 
call " [one shall call], for " he shall be called." 

The second place is Jerem. xxiii. 6, in which we should read, 
as Calvin thinks also, " This is his Name, whereby they shall call 

f 1 So Buxtorf, Thes. Gramm. Lib. n. c. 10. "Tertise persons verba 
ssepissime quoque usurpantur indefinite et quasi impersonaliter, nullo nomi 
native expresso." He cites Is. ix. 6, Jerem. xxiii. 6, as instances. There are 
some remarks upon this idiom, both very curious and very valuable, in 
Gataker, de Stylo N. T. pp. 6672. London, 1648. Cf. Nordheimer s 
Hebrew Syntax, 763, New York, 1841.] 


him, The Lord our Righteousness." But the Hebrew text reads 
constantly in the singular, " he shall call," not " they shall call." I 
answer, in the first place, That we plainly perceive this place not 
to be corrupt from the circumstance, that of old in Jerome s time 
it was read exactly as it is read at present. For Jerome left it 
optional with us to read it either in the singular or the plural ; 
and the Seventy, before Jerome, rendered the word /caXeW, 
" he shall call." Secondly, the Hebrew word may be rendered, 
" they shall call," as Yatablus, Pagninus, and Arias Montanus 
have translated it. Thirdly, if we read "He shall call," as 
our Hebrew text invites us, the sense will be neither impious 
nor unsuitable, as is plain from the annotations of Junius and 

The third place is Ps. xxii. 17. All Christians read, " They 
pierced my hands and my feet." But the Hebrew MSS. have not 
Cam, [JR3] "they pierced," but Caari, [n3] "as a Lion." I 
answer, that this is the only specious indication of corruption in 
the Hebrew original ; yet it is easy to protect this place also 
from their reproaches. For, first, learned men testify that 
many Hebrew copies are found in which the reading in Cam ; 
Andradius, Defens. Trid. Lib. iv., and Galatinus, Lib. vm. c. 17. 
And John Isaac writes that he had himself seen such a copy, 
in his book against Lindanus, Lib. n. ; and the Masorites them 
selves affirm that it was so written in some corrected copies 2 . 
Secondly, in those books which have this reading, the Masorites 3 
tell us that it is not to be taken in the common acceptation : 
whence it plainly appears that nothing was farther from their minds 
than a design to corrupt the passage. Thirdly, the place is now 
no otherwise read than it was formerly before Jerome s time. 
For the Chaldee Paraphrast hath conjoined both readings 4 , and 
the Masorites testify that there is a twofold reading of this place. 
Jerome, too, in his Psalter read in the Hebrew Caari, as our 
books have it, though he rendered it "fixerunt." So that it 
can never be proved, at least from this place, that the Hebrew 
originals were corrupted after the time of Jerome. 

The fourth place is Ps. xix. 5, where the Hebrew copies have, 

[ 2 In the textual Masora on Numb. xxiy. 9, 11*0 


[3 The smaller Masora on Ps. xxii. 17, < Ot^> nfil j^ftp 1-] 

[ 4 ^m TN rmtf3 -pri rTO:D. "They pierced, like a lion, my 

hands and my feet."] 


" their line 1 went into all the earth ;" whereas the Septuagint render 
it, <p06yyo<$ aurcov, "their sound;" and Paul hath approved that 
reading, Rom. x. 18. I answer with Genebrard, in his Scholia 
upon the passage, that the Hebrew term does indeed denote a 
line, but the Septuagint regarded the general sense, and were 
followed by the apostle. For that line, or (as Tremellius trans 
lates it) delineation of the heavens, that is, that frame and 
structure of the heavenly orbs, smoothed as it were by the rule, 
proclaims the infinite power and wisdom of the divine artist. 

The fifth place is Exod. chap, ii., in which this whole sentence 
is wanting : " He begat another also, and called his name Eliezer, 
saying, The God of my father hath helped me, and delivered me 
from the hand of Pharaoh 2 ." 1 answer, that in this place it is the 
Latin rather than the Hebrew copies that are corrupt. For the 
asterisk which the Latin editions, even that of Louvain, prefix 
to these words, is a brand which shews that the whole sentence 
should be removed from the Latin books ; and this the more learned 
and candid of the papists themselves confess. For so Cajetan 
writes in his commentary upon that place : " This whole paragraph 
about the second son is superfluous 3 ." 

These then are the passages which Bellarmine was able to find 
fault with in the originals ; and yet in these there is really nothing 
to require either blame or correction. But, even though we should 
allow (which we are so far from doing, that we have proved the 
contrary), that these were faulty in the original, what could our 
adversaries conclude from such an admission ? Would it follow that 
the Hebrew fountain was more corrupt than the Latin streamlets, 
cr that the Latin edition was authentic ? Not, surely, unless it 
were previously assumed, either that canonical books of scripture 
cannot be erroneously copied sometimes by transcribers, or that 
it is not very easy for us to discover many more errors in the 
Latin edition which ought not, and cannot be defended, as we 
shall hear presently. 

Here indeed the Jesuit hath betrayed the papal cause. For, 
to maintain the reasonableness of the Tridentine decree, we must 

[ x D*lp . See Pococke in his Appendix to Maimonidis Porta Mosis, c. iv. 
pp. 4751.] 

[ 2 Alium quoque genuit, et vocavit nomen ejus Eliezer, dicens, Deus patris 
mei auxiliatus est mihi, et liberavit me e manu Pharaonis. Exod. ii. 22.] 

[ 3 Tota ista particula de secundo filio superflua est. Cajet. in Penta 
teuch, p. 82. 2. Romee. 1531.] 


assert that the Hebrew text is utterly corrupt, and the Latin 
uncorrupted ; which Lindanus and Canus endeavour to do ; and 
that, constrained by the authority of this Tridentine decree : but 
Bellarmine is so far from doing this, that he censures Lindanus and 
Canus for saying that the Hebrew originals have been corrupted 
by the Jews ; which thesis, although these men assert it with 
strenuous earnestness, hath been long since exploded by the senate 
(so to speak) of more learned and sound-minded papists. Sixtus 
Senensis, Lib. vin. c. 2, delivers his opinion thus : "It cannot be said 
that the divine scriptures of the old Testament have been falsified 
by the malice either of Jews or Christians 4 :" which he presently de 
monstrates by many arguments. We might adduce similar passages 
from other popish authors. Now then, if the originals of sacred scrip 
ture have not been so disgracefully corrupted by any malice of Jews 
or adversaries, as some persons have ignorantly suspected ; and if no 
mistakes have crept into the originals, but such as may casually 
be introduced into any book, (which our opponents expressly allow ;) 
why, I pray, did not the Tridentine fathers rather command 
that the originals should be purified with the greatest care and 
diligence than that the muddy stream of the Latin edition should 
be preferred to the fountain, and become authentic ? For they who 
assert the Latin to be authentic scripture, close up the Hebrew and 
Greek fountains. Indeed these men are unwilling to seem to do 
this ; and yet they do it nevertheless, when they determine the 
originals not to be authentic. Thus, therefore, I frame my argu 
ment : If the originals are not authentic, it must be because they 
are corrupt. But they are not corrupt : therefore they are 
authentic. Upon the major we shall have no dispute. For what 
other reason can be assigned for denying, that books which were 
authentic once, should still be so, and be so esteemed at pre 
sent ? As to the minor, if they answer that they are corrupt ; 
I demand, whether by the deliberate malice of adversaries, or 
by chance ? If they say the former, what adversaries do they 
mean ? In the case of the old Testament they can dream of none 
except the Jews. Now the Jews are, as you have heard, acquitted 
by the very papists, and by Bellarmine himself, and are indeed 
wholly free from blame. For when could they have made these 
corruptions? Neither before Christ, nor for 400 years after 
Christ. For then Christ and the doctors of the church would have 

[ 4 Dici non potest divinas veteris Testament! scripturas aut Judaeorum 
aut Christianorum malignitate falsatas. p. 613. Paris, 1610.] 

r i n 



blamed them upon that score ; whereas, on the contrary, they praise 
their fidelity and diligence in preserving the originals, and call them 
the book-keepers (capsarii) of the scriptures l . Besides, if the Jews had 
wished to corrupt the original scriptures, they would have laid their 
sacrilegious hands specially upon those places which concern Christ 
and confirm the faith. But in those places these fountains run so clear 
that one feels no lack : nay, they sometimes run far clearer than the 
Latin streams. For instance, in Psalm ii. the Latin copies have, Am- 
plectimini disciplinam ; which reading says nothing emphatical of 
Christ. But the Hebrew original leads us at once to the Son of 
God, and celebrates his far-extended sway over all : " Kiss the 
Son." The same may be affirmed of many other passages. John 
Isaac, the Jew, in his second book against Lindanus, writes that 
more than two hundred arguments against Jewish opinions may be 
drawn more strongly from the Hebrew text than from the Latin 
translation. To the same effect Andradius (Defens. Lib. iv.): 
" Those who handle the Hebrew text with piety and religious care, 
meet in it with much larger testimonies to Christ than in the Latin 
and Greek 2 ." This was testified long ago also by Jerome, in his 
74th Epistle to Marcella 3 . But if they say that the originals are 
only corrupted by some accident, we too may affirm the same, and 
with much more justice, of their own Latin version : for such 
accidental causes extend no less to the Latin than to the Hebrew 
and Greek books. 

The eleventh argument. The Latin Vulgate edition is most 
certainly and most plainly corrupt. And the corruptions I speak of 
are not casual, or slight, or common errors, such as the careless 
ness of copyists often produces in books ; but errors deeply rooted 
in the text itself, important and intolerable. Hence is drawn the 
weightiest argument against the authority of this edition. Upon 
this subject many excellently learned men, even of the popish party, 
have written, Valla, Isaac, Erasmus (if indeed they rank him in 
their number at all), and Clarius, whom Canus censures most 
severely upon this account : but the thing is certain and manifest. 
Yet here the Jesuit, who hitherto did not dare to accuse the 
Hebrew originals, toils hard to save the credit of the Latin edition, 

t 1 E. g. Augustine, Enarr. in Ps. xli. n. 14. T. iv. Contr. Faust. L. xii. 
c. 23. T. vm. &c.] 

[ 2 Qui Hebrsea pie et religiose tractant, multo in illis ampliora de Christo 
testimonia quam in Latinis Grsecisque offendunt.J 

[ 3 T. i. p. 150. Ep. 32.] 


and is large in his replies to Chemnitz, Calvin, and others. In 
which task he has no more formidable adversary than himself. 
For, unless the Hebrew and Greek originals be most foully corrupt, 
it follows that this Latin edition is most foully corrupt, inasmuch as 
it differs widely in all the books from those originals. Who does 
not see from this that either the originals are corrupted, or the 
Latin Vulgate edition is full of innumerable errors ? For, where the 
difference and opposition of the readings is so great as is actually 
found between the originals and the Latin edition, it cannot be said 
or conceived that every thing is sound and uncorrupted. Bellarmine 
therefore cannot possibly defend them both together ; and he must 
necessarily confess either the Hebrew original of the old, and the 
Greek of the new Testament, or else the Latin edition in both Tes 
taments, to labour under most wretched depravation. For whoever 
will compare the Latin with the originals, shall find almost every 
where a remarkable discordance. Were I to go in detail through all 
the errors of this edition, I should never make an end, and should 
weary your attention with a vain prolixity. You may spend your 
leisure in reading what others have written upon the subject. It 
shall suffice for me to discharge what my duty requires, and to lay 
before you some faults of this edition, from which it will plainly appear 
that it is really corrupt and erroneous. And, though I might bring 
forward many passages, and follow the regular order of the several 
books and chapters, I shall prefer to tread in the steps of Bellarmine, 
and examine his defence of certain places. He first proposes 
severally and defends the faults of the Vulgate edition of the old 
Testament which had been censured by Chemnitz, then those by 
Calvin in the Psalms, lastly those by others in the Latin edition of 
the new Testament. These let us now examine, and, as occasion 
offers, interpose a few remarks. 



THE first place is Gen. iii. 4 : Ipsa conteret caput tuum. So it 
is wrongly and corruptly read in the Vulgate. For the reading 

[4 ver. 15. 



ought to be Ipse or Ipsum, so as to make the reference to the Seed 
of the woman, not to the woman herself. Bellarmine affirms that 
it is not improbable that the true reading is Ipsa, and that many 
of the ancients read so ; and that, as to the verb, which is in the 
Hebrew of the masculine gender, being coupled with a noun in the 
feminine, we must consider that there is a great mystery contained 
in that construction namely, that the woman crushes the serpent s 
head, not by herself but by her Son. However, he hath omitted 
to notice this mystery in the Sartorian edition. 

I answer. Though all the fathers were to say that we should 
read Ipsa, yet it should by no means be admitted or approved. 
For the Hebrew copies constantly read Hu; the Septuagint exhibits 
auros ; the Chaldee Paraphrase confirms the same reading ; and 
lastly, some copies of the Vulgate edition retain Ipse, some Ipsum. 
Finally, the very drift of the sentence requires that we should 
understand it of the Seed of the woman, not of the woman. 
What woman could crush the serpent s head ? Was it Mary ? I 
am well aware that this is what is said by them. But how? When 
she bore Christ ? But to bear Christ is not to crush the head of 
the serpent: to give birth to him by whom the serpent s head is 
crushed is one thing, and to crush the head of the serpent is another. 
Was it when she believed in Christ 1 ? But this applies to all be 
lievers. Christ therefore, and Christ only, is he who by his power 
could crush and destroy the head of the infernal serpent, and rescue 
and deliver us out of his jaws. Indeed it is wonderful that this first 
promise of our redemption, upon which the whole safety of the 
human race depends, should not have been more diligently cared 
for by these men. If they had been as solicitous as they ought for 
the salvation of men, they would never have permitted its founda 
tion to have been so perilously and impiously shaken. Augustine 
indeed, De Gen. ad Liter. Lib. n. c. 36 2 , reads the whole passage 
corruptly, Ipsa tibi servabit caput : but Cyprian reads Ipse in 
his Second Book to Quirinus 3 ; and before him Irena3us, Lib. in. 

[ l Salmeron however determines, " Christum Matrem suam prope crucem 
vocasse, ut ipsa Mater Filium suum in sacrificium Patri seterno pro toto 
mundo offerret, ut Abraham filium suum Isaac ex obedientia offerre voluit." 
Opp. T. x. Tract. 41. p. 933. cited by Glass. Philol. S. p. 693. (Amstel. 1694.)] 

[ 2 So also Enarr. in Ps. ciii. T. iv. pp. 1668 9, and elsewhere. The 
reading servabit is from the Septuagint r^orei. See Gesenius in voc. S)J)lJ.] 

[ 3 Testim. adv. Judeeos, n. 9. p. 37. Hoc semen prredixerat Deus de 
muliere procedere, quod calcaret caput Diaboli .... ipse tuum observabit 


c. 77 4 ; and Leo the pope of Rome interprets this place of the Seed 
of the woman, Serm. 2 De Nativitate Domini 5 . And that this is 
the true reading, Jerome teaches us in his Questions upon Genesis : 
so that either the Vulgate edition is not Jerome s, or Jerome hath 
contradicted himself. Chrysostom sometimes seems to read Ipsa; 
but Philip Montanus hath shewn that this is the fault of his 
translator. Canus, Lib. n. c. 15, acknowledges that there is a 
manifest error in this place. To the same effect Andradius, Defens. 
Lib. iv., and Cajetan 6 , upon the three Chapters of Genesis, writes 
plainly that this is not spoken of the woman, but of the Seed of the 
woman. Isidore Clarius hath restored Ipsum in his Bible ; and 
John Benedictus, in his Scholia upon this place, says that we should 
not read Ipsa but Ipsum, so as to understand it of the Seed. 
Wherefore to defend this reading of the Vulgate edition is to excuse 
a manifest error, and to contradict a plain truth. 

The second place is Gen. vi., which is read thus in the Vulgate 
edition: Cuncta cogitatio cordis est intenta ad malum. The 
Hebrew would require : Figmentum cordis ejus tantummodo 
malum omni die 1 . Bellarmine says, in the first place, that the sense 
is the same. 

I answer. Although this were true, it would not amount to a 
just defence. For it behoves a translator of scripture not merely 
to take care that he do not corrupt the meaning, but also, as far 
as it is at all possible, not to depart a hand s breadth from the 
words ; since many things may lie under cover in the words of the 
Holy Spirit, which are not immediately perceived, and yet contain 
important instruction. But in this place the sense is changed. 
For it is one thing to be intent on evil, and another to be evil, and 
only evil. For it is a lighter thing to be propense towards evil, than 
to be already actually evil. Besides the Vulgar translator says that 
"every thought of man s heart is intent on evil:" as if the Holy 
Spirit only blamed the thoughts ; whereas he condemns both the 
thoughts and the principle and source of all the thoughts. The 
faults of this passage, then, are these. First, there is nothing in 
the Hebrew to answer to the word Intenta. Secondly, "every 

[ 4 Lib. in. c. 38. p. 309, A. (ed. Fevard. Par. 1675) Lib. iv. c. 78. p. 
425, c. The reference in the text is a mistake, since there are not seventy- 
seven chapters in the third book in any edition that Whitaker could have used.] 

[ 5 Denuntians serpenti futurum semen mulieris, quod noxii capitis elatio- 
nem sua virtute contereret. pp. 13, 14. Opp. Lugd. 1623.] 

[ 6 Opp. Lugd. 1639. T. I. p. 29.] 

jn ,TI ii^ rattfro n-bai. Gen. vi. 5.] 


thought of the heart " is substituted for the whole figment of the 
thoughts of man s heart. Thirdly, the particle only is omitted, 
which hath the greatest possible weight in the expression. 

Bellar mine s second observation is, that it does not follow from 
this that, as the Lutherans suppose, all the works of men are evi ; 
since this is a hyperbole, similar to that which is said in the same 
chapter, "All flesh had corrupted its way," while yet Noah is called 
in the very same place a righteous man and a perfect. 

I answer. In the first place, the Lutherans do not say that 
all man s works are evil, but only the works of men not yet rege 
nerate. Now, that these latter are all evil, is most manifestly plain 
from other testimonies of scripture, and specially from this place. 
Secondly, there is no hyperbole in this passage ; for in reality the 
desires of such men are nothing but evil. This even Andradius 
acknowledges, Orthodox. Explic. Lib. in. and Defens. Lib. v. For 
he says that that is evil, "which the human heart itself begins the 
effort to frame and form." If the first movements of the heart be 
so vicious and impure, what remains at all sound in the human 
breast ? For we do not speak of the substance of the heart, but of 
the qualities. Thirdly, there is nothing whatever hyperbolical in 
the assertion, that all flesh had corrupted its way. Noah was, indeed, 
a just man and a perfect ; yet so as that his justice was not innate 
in his nature, but received as a gift from God : for Noah was not 
entirely pure from all that corruption which had pervaded all flesh. 
See what hyperboles these men have found in scripture ! Concerning 
Noah, Jerome writes thus in his Questions on Genesis: "It is empha 
tically said, in his generation, to shew us that he was righteous 
not according to the measure of absolute righteousness, but according 
to the righteousness of his generation 1 ." 

The third place is in Gen. ix., where they read thus: Qui 
fuderit sanguinem hominis, fundetur sanguis illius. Here the 
words "by man 2 " are omitted. Bellarmine says that this omission 
does not render the sense imperfect, since the sense is the same in 
the Hebrew and in the Latin: "He who shall slay man shall be 
slain himself." 

I answer. The sense is not so full .in the Latin as in the 
Hebrew. For the clause " by man," or, as others render it, " in 
man," is emphatic, as Cajetan in his Commentaries and others 
also inform us, and is variously explained by many expositors ; all 

[ J Ut ostenderet non juxta justitiam consummatam, sed juxta generationis 
suse justitiam, fuisse eum justum. T. in. p. 316.] 

[2 TfS l OT D1KIL 0"Nn OT. -FSitf. Gen. ix. 6.] 


which explanations are taken from us, if these words be removed 
from the text. It is false, therefore, that the sense is not im 
paired by this omission. The truest explanation seems to be that 
given by those who think that the authority of the magistrate and 
the judge is sanctioned in these words, and that a murderer is not 
to be merely left to the divine vengeance, but searched out and 
punished by those to whom the sword hath been delivered by God. 
For it is not the same thing for one to say merely, " he who slays 
man shall be himself slain," as it is when one adds "by man." 
For the former might be understood only to mean that he should 
be slain by God ; but the latter implies that he is to be consigned to 
death by man. 

The fourth place is Gen. xiv. 18, where in the Hebrew neither 
is there any trace of the word "offering," nor of a causative 

Bellarmine objects, in the first place, that the Vulgate edition 
does not read obtulit, but protidit panem et vinum. 

I answer. Nevertheless in some copies we do find obtulit ; nor 
does Andradius deny it in the fourth book of his Defence. But 
most of the Latin copies do indeed now read proferens panem et 
vinum, not offer ens. Which shews that our adversaries do the 
more grossly abuse this place, when they apply it to support the 
sacrifice of the mass. 

Secondly, he objects that tne particle Ve is in Hebrew often 
taken for Chi, because*. 

I answer. This is not denied ; nor was there any occasion to 
prove it by the citation of so many instances. However, it hath 
riot that force in this passage. For Melchisedek brought forth the 
bread and wine, not to offer sacrifice or discharge any priestly 

[ 3 The clause in question is \ |Vfy; b$b ]Pp NTI] }^} Dr6 NWl, 
and the question seems to be whether his being priest of the Most High be 
mentioned in connexion with the bringing forth of the bread and wine, or 
with his blessing Abraham. If with the former, then the ) may be causative. 
For when the sense of a clause in Hebrew is such as to leave the reader s 
mind searching for a reason of the thing stated in it, then the conjunctive 
particle is often used to carry on the train of thought thus implied rather 
than expressed: i.e. it becomes causative. But there seems no reason here 
for any such connexion ; because there was nothing for which the reader 
would naturally seek any reason, not to be found amongst the other circum 
stances, in the act of Melchisedech bringing refreshment for Abraham and 
his followers : whereas the clause is perfectly fitted to introduce the circum 
stance of the benediction.] 


function, but rather to do as became a king, that is, refresh with 
provisions Abraham and his comrades in the battle. This answer 
you will not perhaps approve when given by me. Listen, therefore, 
to the reply of your own fellows. Cajetan speaks thus in his 
Commentary upon this place: "That which in the Vulgate edition 
is subjoined as the cause of the oblation ( for he was priest of the 
most high God ) is not given in the Hebrew as a reason, but as a 
separate clause : Also he was priest to the high God/ It adds 
his priestly dignity, to his royal honour and bounty 1 ." Thus 
Cajetan refers his production of the bread and wine to his royal 
bounty, his benediction of Abraham to his sacerdotal dignity, and 
that with perfect justice. So Andradius, Deferis. Trid. Lib. iv.: 
" I agree with those who say that Melchisedek refreshed with bread 
and wine the soldiers of Abraham, wearied and broken with the 
long battle 2 ." You have, therefore, Andradius and Cajetan, and 
many more, differing from your notion, that the bread and wine 
were produced by Melchisedek to offer them as a sacrifice to God. 
As to the judgment of the fathers, there will be another place for 
answering that argument. 

Bellarmine objects thirdly, that in Ps. cix. it is said of Christ : 
" Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek !" 
Why is Christ a priest after the order of Melchizedek, unless 
because the one offered bread and wine, the other himself in the 
forms of bread and wine ? 

I answer. The apostle plainly teaches us in the Epistle to the 
Hebrews, chap. v. vii. how Christ is a priest after the order of Mel 
chizedek ; so that there is no necessity for inventing this new 
analogy. But if Melchizedek was no otherwise a type of Christ 
but because he offered bread and wine, the apostle hath compared 
Christ with Melchizedek in vain, and said not one word to the 
purpose ; for he hath made no mention of this sacrifice in the com 
parison. If then it was by reason of this sacrifice alone that 
Christ was a priest after the order of Melchizedek, then the apostle, 
in drawing this comparison of Christ with Melchizedek, hath 
omitted that altogether which was the only thing worth mention- 

[* Quod in vulgata editione subditur, ut causa oblationis (erat enim 
sacerdos Dei altissimi), in Hebreeo non habetur ut causa, sed separata clau- 
sula, et ipse erat sacerdos El excelso/ Adjungit siquidem regies dignitati 
et liberalitati dignitatem sacerdotalem. T. I. p. 66.] 

[ 2 Ego cum illis sentio, qui lassos Abrahse milites et diuturna pugna frac- 
tos Melchisedechum pane vinoque refecisse aiunt.J 


ing, and hath not proved with any sufficient care and pertinency 
the very thing which was to have been proved. What else is this, 
but to offer an open insult to the Holy Spirit ? Which is, indeed, 
what these men do, when they say that Christ is a priest after the 
order of Melchizedek, upon no other grounds than because the one 
offered bread and wine, the other himself in the forms of bread 
and wine. But we shall have an occasion elsewhere of speaking of 
this whole matter. 

The fifth place is in the last chapter of Numbers, where the 
Vulgate copies exhibit the following reading: Omnes viri ducent 
uxores de tribu et cognatione sua, et cunctce foemince de eadem 
tribu maritos accipient 3 . That this is an erroneous interpreta 
tion, any one may readily understand in many ways, who shall 
compare it with the Hebrew text. In these words it is absolutely 
forbidden that any man should take a wife, or any woman marry a 
husband, out of their own tribes respectively. But many examples 
occur in scripture of marriages contracted between persons of dif 
ferent tribes. It was not, therefore, the meaning of the law, that 
every man and woman should marry only into their own tribes ; 
but the command extended only to heritors, to prevent the posses 
sions and estates of the several tribes from being confounded, or 
passing into other tribes. Whatever, then, Bellarmine may say to 
excuse the fault of this version, whoever will give the place even 
the slightest inspection, will immediately detect its erroneousness. 
And whereas Bellarmine affirms that the words run just the same 
way in the Hebrew as in the Latin, (which I marvel how he could 
assert so confidently and yet so falsely,) I will confute him with no 
other testimony than that of Cajetan. This is Cajetan s remark 
upon the place: "This clause is not contained in the Hebrew 4 ." 
That cardinal denies that to be contained in the Hebrew, which 
Bellarmine affirms to be contained in it : but the cardinal is Bel- 
larmine s superior both in authority and in truth. Afterwards the 
same cardinal presently subjoins : " See how many and how im 
portant additions to the law the translator hath passed over in 
silence. The law is not delivered concerning every daughter, but 
of a daughter that is an heiress 5 ," &c. Thus there are many 
faults of the Vulgate edition in this place, if we believe Cajetan ; 

[ 3 Numbers xxxvi. 7, 8.] 

[ 4 Non habetur hsec clausula in textu Hebraico. T. I. p. 428.] 
[ 5 Vide quot et quales additiones legis siluit intcrpres. Non traditur lex 
de qualibet filia, sed de filia hserede.] 


and yet Bellarmine could see none, lest perchance he should be 
forced to acknowledge some error in the Vulgate edition, which, no 
doubt, would be a most deplorable catastrophe ! 

The sixth place is Ezra ix. 8, where the reading is pax illius, 
whereas we should read paxillus l . Here Bellarmine acknowledges 
an error of the transcribers ; for the Hebrew word denotes a 
stake, so that there is no room to doubt that this is the true read 
ing. As to Bellarmine s assertion that many Latin copies exhibit 
paxillus, I think it by no means probable, since the Louvain cor 
rectors of the Bible retain the old and wrong reading in the text ; 
which surely they would not have done, if they had felt that the 
authority of copies would have supported them in amending the 
passage. Indeed, we may well ask why they did not amend it? 
Is the matter doubtful or obscure ? Bellarmine confesses that to 
be the true reading which they have excluded from the text, that 
false which they retain in the text. Yet the divines of Louvain, 
who profess themselves to be desirous of correcting the errors of 
the Vulgate edition, have marked indeed, but not removed, this 
error, certain and shameful as it is. And with other such mistakes 
of the transcribers, known, manifest and acknowledged, does that 
edition abound. Should we receive that for authentic scripture, 
which its very correctors have left so full of blemishes ? 

The seventh place is Job v. 1 : Voca si quis est qui tibi re- 
spondeat, et ad aliquem sanctorum convertere. Bellarmine says 
that Chemnitz pretends that this place was corrupted to support 
the invocation of saints ; and thereupon, with sufficient impudence, 
pronounces him drunk. But Chemnitz blames not the version of 
the passage, but the reasoning of the papists from that version ; 
that the saints are to be invoked, because we are bidden to betake 
ourselves to some of the saints : whereas those are called saints 
in scripture, who cultivate holiness during their lives. And thus 
these men often abuse the Latin version to the support of their 
doctrines in a way that can hardly be called sober argumentation. 

The eighth place is Prov. xvi. 11, where they read lapides 
seculi 2 , instead of lapides sacculi ; which passage we have men 
tioned before. And Bellarmine confesses that the reading which 

[! The word in the Hebrew is in\ upon which Gesenius observes, "pan- 
gere paxillum. Hebrseis (et Arabicus, v. yit. Tom. i. p. 134, 228. ed. Mauger) 
imago est sedis firmse et stabilis Jer. xxii. 23, de qua "1JT dicitur, Esr. ix. 8."] 

[2 D 


exhibits sacculi is the true one, but the Vulgate, even in its latest 
Louvain edition, false, which exhibits seculi. 

The ninth place is Eccles. ix. 2 : Nescit homo, utrum odio vel 
amore dignus-sit, sed omnia in futurum servantur incerta 3 . Bel- 
larmine says that the Vulgate interpreter hath rendered the passage 
excellently well, not counting, indeed, the Hebrew words, but 
weighing them and expressing their sense. 

1 answer. The Vulgate interpreter in this place hath neither 
counted the words, nor weighed them, nor expressed the sense, but 
rendered them most falsely ; which will readily appear evident, if 
the Hebrew words be compared with this translation. For those 
interpreters who have translated the scriptures from the Hebrew, 
with the greatest care and fidelity, have perceived that these words 
required a totally different interpretation. Vatablus hath translated 
the passage thus : " And that man is ignorant alike of love and 
hatred, but to him (God) all things are set open 4 ." Pagninus 
thus : " Both love and hatred man knows not ; all which are 
before them 5 ." Cajetan thus : " Both love and hatred man knows 
not ; all in their face 6 ." Jerome himself translated this passage far 
otherwise, as appears from that other interpretation of this book, 
which is extant amongst his works, where we read : Et quidem 
caritatem, et quidem odium non est cognoscens homo : omnia in 
facie eorum. This differs, both in words and in sense, from yours, 
which yet ye call Jerome s. As to the sense, it is not what you 
suppose ; that all things here are doubtful and uncertain, so that 
no man, while he remains in this life, knows whether he enjoys the 
love of God or labours under his hatred. This is an utterly false 
assertion, and contrary to the whole teaching of the scriptures : 
for the scriptures every where teach, that those who believe are 
certain of the favour of God and their own salvation ; which most 
true and sacred doctrine should not be rejected for the sake of the 
error of your version. We shall speak of the matter itself else 
where : for the present, let cardinal Cajetan teach Bellarmine that 
this is not the sense of the place in hand. " Before us are those 
things which are carried on about us, whether prosperous or adverse: 

[ 3 Drroa n DINH jrrp p 

[ 4 Quodque pariter amorem et odium ignorat homo, ipsi autem (Deo) 

sunt omnia proposita.] 

[ 5 Etiam amorem, etiam odium nescit homo : quse omnia ante eos sunt.] 
[ 6 Etiam amorem etiam odium non scions homo : omnia enim in facie 



at the same time we know not the cause of adversity or pros 
perity, whether it be the love or hatred of God, that is, whether 
God out of his love to a man governs him by adverse circum 
stances, and in like manner, out of his hatred to a man governs 
him by adversity ; and the same may be said of prosperity 1 ." 
Mercer, a man exquisitely skilled in the Hebrew tongue and scrip 
ture, interprets and explains the passage to the like effect ; nor 
does he think that your own translator meant any thing more than 
this, that it cannot be judged and certainly determined by external 
circumstances, whether any one is loved by God or not, since all 
happen alike to all, to the just and the impious, the pure and the 
impure, the good and the unrighteous, those who sacrifice and 
those who sacrifice not, those who swear and those who reverence 
an oath, as it follows in the succeeding sentences. 

The tenth place is Ecclus. v. 5 : De propitiato peccato noli 
esse sine metu. The place is badly translated, since the Greek is 
Trepl e^tXacr/mov imrf cKpofios yivov. Which words warn men not to 
sin presumptuously through confidence of obtaining remission of 
their sins : for it follows, " nor add sin to sin." For many heap 
sin upon sin, because they promise themselves certain remission ; 
whom Ecclesiasticus deters by this most solemn admonition. 
As to Bellarmine s pretence, that we say that a man should be 
secure of obtaining pardon, and therefore that our opinion is con 
futed by these words, he seems to understand our doctrine but 
badly. For we do not approve security in any man, as he slan 
derously lays to our charge. 

The eleventh place is Ecclus. xvi. 15 : Misericordia faciet 
locum unicuique secundum meritum operum suorum. Here in a 
few words are many errors. For thus stands the Greek text : 

-N -y / / / tl \ \ \ if 

TrcKjr] e\rjjiioa vi rj iroir](jov TOTTOV e/ca<jTos *y(xp KCITO, TO, epya 
aurov ev privet " Make way for every work of mercy : for every 
man shall find according to his works." The words are not the 
same, and the sense different. That word merit, whence did the 
Vulgate translator get it ? Certainly he did not find it in the 
Greek. For as to Bellarmine s pretence that /card epya is the 
same as " according to the merit of one s works," which he says 

[* Coram nobis sunt ea quse circa nos geruntur, sive pro?pera, sire ad- 
versa; et cum hoc nescimus causam adversitatis yel prosperitatis, an sit 
odium vel amor Dei, hoc est, an Deus tanquam amans aliquem gubernet 
eum per adversa : et similiter an tanquam odio habens aliquem gubernet eum 
per adversa: idemque dicito de prosperis. p. 165. sine loco. 1545.] 


that every one knows who is ever so slightly skilled in the Greek 
language ; I would fain know from him who is so skilful in the 
Greek tongue, in what Lexicon or other book he ever found that 
Kara epya means anything else but "according to works?" And if 
Bellarmine can make no distinction between works and the merit of 
works, he hath no reason to attribute to himself any great skill and 
expertness in either the Greek language or theology. To works there 
is a reward promised in scripture ; to the merits of works none, but 
that of death. 

The twelfth place is Joel ii. 13 : Prcestabilis super ma- 
litia 2 . What is this ? Let us hear Bellarmine s explanation : 
"Prcestabilis super malitia," saith he, " means excelling in compas 
sion." As if prcestabilis super were all one with excelling, or 
malitia the same thing as compassion. Or otherwise: "Prcestabilis 
super malitia is as much as to say, so good as not to be overcome 
of evil." But that is not the meaning of the prophet. The pro 
phet extols the clemency and goodness of God, and says that it is 
so great that God repents him of the evil with which he had 
determined to afflict the people. This may easily be understood. 
The other is not only obscure, but absolutely barbarous. 

The thirteenth place is Micah v. 2, which Osiander says is 
wrongly rendered by the old translator. For it should not be 
translated, parvula es in millibus Judah 3 , but, " it is too slight a 
thing that thou shouldst be in the thousands of Judah." I have 
no business to answer in behalf of Osiander. His correction seems 
to deserve some regard, since Matthew in reciting this place, chap. 
ii. 6, does not read " art little," but ovSa/uws eXa-^iaTrj el, " art by 
no means least:" and the place might undoubtedly be rendered 
better than it is rendered by the Vulgate interpreter. 

Thus then hath Bellarmine excused some faults of the old 
Latin version ; with what skill, learning, or truth, let others judge. 
I believe that no one who is not under an immoderate influence of 
party spirit will say that the Vulgate translation is nobly vindi 
cated by Bellarmine. If there were no other error in that version, 
yet it might be sufficiently understood and perceived by those now 
adduced, that it is by no means so pure and perfect as to merit to 
be esteemed the authentic scripture of God. But besides these there 
are others also, and those so many that they cannot be detailed 

[2 n^rrv DTO.J 

[3 rrnrr ^^i rnSn^ *i^. Osiand. BIR p. n. p. 432. Tubing. 

1597. He translates. Pavum est ut sis in millibus Judse.J 


and enumerated. And lest any one should think that I say this 
rashly, I will exhibit yet more clearly by fresh instances the in 
finite perversity of that version. 

I shall commence with Genesis, wherein at the 30th verse 
of the first chapter these words, " all green herbs," are wanting 
in your Vulgate edition. Nor ought they to be deemed super 
fluous. The Lord in this place plainly distinguishes the food of 
man from that of cattle : to man God gave the herbs and trees 
which yield fruit ; to the beasts all green herbs for food. The 
Vulgate translator, omitting these words, says that the same pro 
vision is given by God to the brutes and to man. 

Gen. ii. 8, the Vulgate hath, Plantaverat Deus Paradisum 
voluptatis a principio, instead of, " God had planted a garden in 
Eden eastward." For Heden indicates the proper name of a place, 
as appears from Gen. iv. 16, where we read that Cain settled on 
the east side of this place : and God had not planted that garden 
" from the beginning 1 ," since it was only on the third day that he 
created the herbs and fruitful trees, as is manifest from chap. i. 12. 
More correct is the rendering of the Seventy, /card avaroXas : 
and so Vatablus, Pagninus, and Tremellius, ab oriente. 

Gen. ii. 23, Hoc nunc os ex ossibus meis, instead of 2 , "for 
this turn bone of my bone ;" and Cajetan tells us that there is in 
these words an emphasis usual with the Hebrews. 

Gen. iii. 6, Aspectuque delectabile, instead of, " desirable to 
make one wise." Verse 8, in medio ligni Paradisi, for, "amongst 
the trees of Paradise." Verse 17, maledicta terra in opere tuo 3 , 
for, " cursed be the earth on thine account." Gen. iv. 13, Major 
est iniquitas mea quam ut veniam merear. In the Hebrew there 
is not even the shadow of any word denoting merit. It should be 
rendered "than I can bear," or "sustain 4 ;" or, "than that I should 
obtain forgiveness," as the Septuagint translates it, TOV d<pe0rjvat 
yue. At verse 15, Nequaquam ita fiet, is redundant. For the 
Lord does not promise Cain that no one should slay him. Verse 16, 
Profugus in terra, for, " in the land of Nod," or Naid as the 
Septuagint read it, or " the land of wandering." Verse 26, Iste 

[! The word is DTjpD, which is ambiguous: cf. Ps. Ixxiv. 12; Ixxvii. 6.] 

[2 DySH Jltff . I cannot see the fault of the Vulgate here.] 

[3 The translator mistook the word "pnyi* reading it with a Daleth 

instead of a Resh -), and so making an unauthorised derivative from 

equivalent to 



cospit invocare, for, "then began men 5 :" for it is not the person 
but the time which Moses particularises. Gen. v. 22, those words, 
et vixit Enoch, are superfluous. 

Gen. vi. 3, Non permanebit Spiritus meus in homine in 
ceternum, instead of, " My Spirit shall not strive 6 ." Verse 6, et 
prcecavens infuturum, should be struck out. 

Gen. viii. 4, Vicesimo septimo die mensis, instead of, " upon 
the seventeenth day of the month ;" where the Vulgate edition 
follows not the Hebrew original, but the seventy interpreters : 
which is also the case verse 7, where it translates, qui egrediebatur 
et non revertebatur. For the raven went and returned into the 
ark, as is plain from the Hebrew, until the waters dried up. 
Hence Eugubinus, though a papist, deservedly blames in his 
Scholia the Vulgate version of this verse. 

Gen. xi. 12. Arphaxad is said in the Vulgate edition to have 
lived, after he had begotten Saleth, three hundred and three years. 
But the Hebrew text proves him to have lived four hundred and 
three years. 

Gen. xiii. 2, Dives valde in possessione* auri et argenti, 
instead of, " very rich in flocks, in silver, and in gold." And verse 
11, Divisique sunt alterutrum a fratre suo, which is absolutely 
unintelligible. The Hebrew text is plain, that they separated the 
one from the other. 

Gen. xiv. 3. That is called vallis sylvestris, which should 
have been called Siddim, or a plain. For, unless it be a proper 
name, it denotes arable, and not woody ground 8 . Gen. xvii. 16, 
Orientur ex eo, for, "from her." Gen. xix. 18, Quceso, Domine 
mi, for, " No, I pray thee, my Lord." 

Gen. xxi. 9. The expression of the Vulgate is too gentle, 
when it says that Ishmael played with 9 (lusisse) Isaac. He rather 

[ 6 nJT Dttl N")p> rPin fN. The verb, being in the passive, must 
be taken impersonally.] 

[ 6 ) IT NT? . Gesenius translates, "Non in perpetuum Spiritus meus in 
hominibus humiliabitur ;" making the radical idea of p"| to be, like that of 
the Arabic ^J depression; in which case it is cognate with the Anglo-Saxon 

[* HDpftl . However, the word does denote possession in general, as well 
as the particular possession of cattle.] 

[8 D^Wn pEy from HTO to level] 


played upon Isaac, than with him. And that it should be so 
rendered, appears from the apostle to the Galatians, iv. 29, who 
interprets this version to mean nothing slighter than a hostile 
persecution. But now, if Ishmael had done nothing more than 
play with his brother, neither would Sarah have taken it so un 
kindly, nor would the apostle on that account have charged 
Ishmael with so great a crime. 

Gen. xxiv. 22, we have duo sicli, instead of, " the half of 
a shekel." And at verse 32, what is the meaning of distravit 
camelos ? He should have said that he loosed, or took their 
burdens off the camels ; which, as I take it, is not the sense 
of distravit. In this verse too water is said to have been 
brought to wash the camels feet, which, however, was really 
prepared for washing the feet, not of the camels, but of the 
servant. And at verse 6, the Vulgate hath, qui festinus reverte- 
batur ad Dominum suum, instead of, " and that servant took 
Rebecca, and departed." In the last verse of Gen. xxviii., Esau is 
said in the Vulgate to have " counted it a slight thing that he had 
sold his birthright." But the Hebrew text says that he despised 
the birthright itself. For Esau might have thought slightly of 
the sale of the birthright, and yet might have prized highly the 
birthright itself. So that the Vulgate translator hath by no means 
come up to the sense of the words or the enormity of the sin 
intended. Gen. xxvii. 5, ut jussionem patris impleret, instead of, 
" to take the prey which he should bring." At verse 33, those 
words, ultra quam credi potest admirans, are redundant. Like 
wise Gen. xxxi. 32, these, quod autemfarti me arguis. 

Gen. xxxiv. 29, the clause, " and they plundered finally what 
soever was in any house," is omitted, while quibus perpetratis 
audacter is added superfluously. Gen. xxxvi. 24, the Vulgate 
interpreter says that Anan found "" warm waters" in the desert ; 
which version all who know any thing of Hebrew know to be 
false 1 ; for Anan found not hot springs, of which there is no 
mention made in this place, but mules. This place, therefore, the 
Septuagint translated ill 2 , and the Vulgate interpreter in following 
them hath erred from the Hebrew verity. 

[! Gesenius (Lex. voc. O^CJj) observes, "Quod Hieronymus scribit in 
Qusest. ad 1. c., nonnulli putant aquas calidas juxta Punicce linguce viciniam, 
quse Hebrseae contermina est, hoc vocabulo significari, non contemn endum 

Conjectura sat iiifelici ex contextu facta mulos intelligunt nonnulli 

Hebrsei et Lutherus."] 

[ 2 This seems to be an oversight of Whitakcr s : for the Septuagint have 


Gen. xxxvii. 2. Joseph is said in the Vulgate to have been 
sixteen years of age, when he fed his father s sheep along with 
his brothers. But in the Hebrew text it is seventeen. In the 
same verse the Vulgate interpreter says that Joseph accused his 
brethren to his father with a very grievous accusation, as if some 
fixed and foul crime were intended ; but the Hebrew text runs 
thus : " And Joseph reported the ill report of them to their 
father," i. e. he related their ill behaviour to their father, and 
informed him of all their faults. 

Gen. xxxviii. 5, the Vulgate translator reads : Quo nato, 
parere ultra cessavit ; which is foreign from the meaning of the 
Hebrew text. It ought to have been rendered, " And she was in 
Chezib when she bore him 3 ;" for Chezib is the name of a city of 
the Philistines. And, verse 12, Hirah is called opilio gregis by 
the Vulgate interpreter, as by the Septuagint o Troijuqv avTou. 
But Jerome blames this version, and teaches us that the Hebrew 
word denotes not a shepherd, but a friend 1 : so that this Hirah, 
who went to the town with Judah, was his friend, and not his 
shepherd. At verse 23, the old version hath, Certi mendacii 
arguere nos non potest. But the true sense of the Hebrew is, 
"that we be not despised 5 ." 

Gen. xxxix. 6, these words, " Wherefore he left all his goods 
in the hand of Joseph," are omitted. At verse 10, something is 
wanted to make the sense complete : for thus we read in the 
Vulgate, Hujusmodi verbis per singulos dies. It should have been 
filled up from the Hebrew original, " with such words every day 
did she address Joseph" But the words which follow are super 
fluous, Et mulier molesta erat adolescenti. 

Gen. xl. 5, this whole clause is left out, " The butler and the 
baker of the king of Egypt who were bound in the tower of the 
prison." At verse 16 we have tria canistra farince, for " three 
white (or osier) baskets 6 ." But here the Vulgate interpreter 
followed the Septuagint, not the Hebrew original itself. 

not translated it at all, but retained the original word, os tvpev rov la/xeti/ ev 


[3 n Ptfn i pi rnrn.] 

[ 4 inyi . The difference is in the points ; H>n a friend, 

p ]^h nvn js.] 

[6 V"in vp. Gesenius translates *nn panls albus. LXX. Kara x ov ~ 
fyirav. I think the Vulgate is not here to be blamed.] 




Gen. xli. 45, the Vulgate interpreter, in explaining the name 
which Pharaoh gave to Joseph, hath followed conjecture rather 
than any certain reason. For he first says that those words are 
Egyptian ; and then he explains them to mean the Saviour of the 
world 1 : for thus we read in the text of the Vulgate edition, 
Et vocabit eum lingua ^gyptiaca Salvatorem mundi. The 
Septuagint have set down these two words without any explanation ; 
and the Hebrews doubt whether they are Egyptian or Chaldee. 
Josephus interprets them, " the discoverer of secrets 2 ;" and with 
him agree the later Jews and the Chaldee Paraphrast. It may 
seem strange whence Jerome learnt that these were Egyptian 
terms, and that they denoted " the Saviour of the world." 

Gen. xlix. 10, Jacob says of Judah, " binding the foal of his 
ass to the vine." But the Vulgate translator hath rendered those 
words thus ; Ligans ad vitem, O fili mi, asinam suam. And, 
at verse 22, Joseph is compared to a fruitful branch beside a well ; 
which words the Vulgate translates thus, accrescens et decorus 
aspectus 3 . At verse 24, Jacob says of Joseph, " and the arms of 
his hands were strengthened ;" which, in your edition, is turned to 
a quite contrary sense, dissoluta sunt vincula brachiorum et 
manuum ejus. In this place the translator followed the version of 
the Septuagint, and not the Hebrew text. 

At the end of that chapter, after the 32nd verse, this whole 
clause is omitted : " Now that piece of ground was bought, and also 
the cave which is therein, from the sons of Heth." Thus that 
chapter is, in the Vulgate edition, too short by one entire verse. 

Hitherto we have run over a single book ; in which review we 
have not been at all so curious or malicious as to let nothing which 

[! rt3>?2 .H3S^. Gesenius, after Bernard and Jablonski, thinks the 
Vulgate interpretation right, deriving the word from the Egyptian article 
p sot Saviour, and phenec alwv. This explanation regards the form given 
by the LXX. ^ovOo^avr^x as correct; for the above words, when com 
pounded, would in Coptic be Psotmphenec : the interposed m being sounded 
om in the dialect of upper Egypt. See Scholtz, Expos. Voc. Copt, in Repert. 
Litt. Bibl. et Orient. T. xm. p. 19.] 

[ 2 277/zcuWi yap TO ovopa KpVTrrwv cvptrrjv. Joseph. Antiq. L. II. c. vi. 1.] 
[3 jvy i^g. The Vulgate took ]^ in the sense of mien. The LXX. 
give a different turn, but still understand ]*)} in the sense of an eye, not a well. 
Indeed we have two different versions in the present text of the LXX. 
Mou ^Xoor^s (who has his eye on me), and Upos /xe amo-rpe^ov (turn back 
thine eye on me.)] 


might justly deserve blame escape our hands. Many things I have 
knowingly and deliberately passed over, which nevertheless ought 
certainly to be accounted errors, because repugnant to the truth of 
the originals. 

Were I to examine in the same way the remaining books of 
the old Testament, I should find an abundant crop of errors, and 
fill many pages with the enumeration of them. For your version 
is not a whit more exact in the other books than we have seen it 
to be in this ; whence we may easily form an estimate of the gross- 
ness of its faults throughout. Indeed, since many have translated 
the scriptures from the original into various languages, and correct 
ed in their versions the errors of this Vulgate edition, whoever 
would compile a separate book, diligently and accurately executed, 
upon the errors of this edition, would, in my opinion, undertake 
and perform- a work of very great utility. For from such a work 
all would reap the benefit of seeing and understanding the great 
difference there is between the pure springs of the Hebrew verity, 
and the muddy and turbid streams of this version which they call 
the Vulgate. Were I to enter on the remaining books, I should 
engage in a task not at all required by the plan of my under 
taking, and be drawn into a digression which would interrupt the 
course of our disputation. I have, I hope, sufficiently proved to 
you that this Latin edition is full of many errors and mistakes, 
such as our adversaries have never hitherto found even a single 
instance of in the originals. This it is not we alone that affirm: 
even some leaders of the popish sect maintain the same thing. No 
reason then can be adduced, why the Hebrew edition in the old 
Testament, and the Greek in the new, should not command a great 
and deserved preference to the Latin Vulgate. I shall now return 
to Bellarmine, and sift the remainder of his defence. 



BELLARMINE next inveighs against Calvin, and pleads in defence 
of the Latin edition of the Psalms, which Calvin, in his Antidote to 
the council of Trent, had most truly declared, and proved by some 



instances, to be corrupt and vicious. And who is there, but the 
patron of a desperate cause, who can maintain the claims of this 
edition to the character of an authentic and uncorrupted document ? 
For it is absolutely certain that it is rendered into Latin, not from 
the Hebrew, but from the Greek ; not by Jerome, but by some 
unknown and uncertain author. Would it not be more conformable 
to reason for these men to make the Greek, from which that version 
is derived, authentic? since the latter is only the daughter, or 
image rather, of the former. Why do they, in the case of the 
other books, receive what they think to be the Hieronymian 
version, and yet reject it here ? Jerome expended as much labour 
upon translating the Book of Psalms into Latin as upon the other 
books ; and that Latin edition, which was in most general use 
before Jerome, was no less faulty in the Psalms than in the other 
parts : but on account of the constant and customary use of the 
Psalms, which had everywhere propagated that old Latin version 
in the churches, and made it familiar to men s ears, the Hieronymian 
Latin translation was not publicly received. Is this, then, to be 
held superior to Jerome s version in the Psalms? By no means. 
For it was not retained because it was better, but because it was 
more common, and could not easily be changed. Upon the same 
grounds, if use had confirmed that old version in the case of the 
other books also, it would not be now the Hieronymian, but it, 
however corrupted, that would, in spite of all its faults, be esteemed 
authentic. For thus the case stands with respect to the Psalms. 
The Latin edition is ratified as authentic. Why ? We have the 
Hebrew and the Greek: whereof the Hebrew proceeds directly 
from the Prophets, David, Moses, Asaph, Solomon, and others who 
wrote the Psalms ; and the Greek was made, as most people sup 
pose, by the seventy Interpreters. This latter, though it must not 
absolutely be despised, hath yet most foully corrupted in many 
places the pure fountains of the Hebrew verity. Now the Latin is 
still more corrupt than this, as being still farther removed from the 
fountain head, and derived from the stream and not from the 
spring. Yet it is not the Hebrew, nor the Greek, but this Latin 
edition, such as I have described it, that the Tridentine fathers 
have made the authentic scripture of the Psalms. And although all 
can see the enormous impudence of this proceeding, yet their 
most reckless rashness and temerity will appear yet more plainly 
when some errors of this edition are set before your eyes. Since 
then Bellarmine hath endeavoured to excuse those which Calvin 


had remarked, let us see with what shew of success or probability 
he hath performed his task. 

The first place is Psalm ii. 12 : Apprehendite disciplinatn 1 . 
Bellarmine says that in the Hebrew it is, " kiss," or " adore the 
Son;" but that the sense is excellently well expressed by appre- 
hendite disciplinam, since we can no otherwise acknowledge the 
Son to be the Messiah than by receiving his faith and doctrine. 
I answer, in the first place, that a translator of scripture hath 
no right, first to change the words, and then to plead this excuse, 
that the sense hath been rendered by him. For we are not 
to consider the sense which he renders, but what the inspired 
words require. Secondly, the sense is not the same. For 
who will say, that to apprehend discipline is the same thing as 
to kiss the Son? For it does not follow that, because we must 
needs embrace Christ s discipline, if we acknowledge him as Mes 
siah and our King, therefore the sense of these two expressions is 
the same. In this way all propositions, which agreed with each 
other, might be made out absolutely identical. Thirdly, a most 
noble testimony to Christ, for the refutation of Christ s enemies, is 
by this version wrested from us. For discipline may be under 
stood in such a sense as to have nothing to do with Christ ; but 
the command to kiss the Son commends to us both his divine 
nature and his royal sway. 

The second place is Psalm iv. 3 : Usque quo gravi corde 2 ? In 
the Hebrew it is, "how long my glory into shame?" Bellarmine 
says, first, that the Hebrew text is probably corrupt ; secondly, 
that the sense is the same. 

I answer to the first plea : The Hebrew text is now precisely 
the same as it was in Jerome s time, as appears from his Psalter. 
The Septuagint read and translated the passage erroneously, and 
this interpreter followed them. The cavils and calumnies of Lin- 
danus upon this place are sufficiently refuted by his master, Isaac. 
Then as to the sense, who does not see that there is a great diversity, 
especially if we follow Bellarmine s exposition? For he says, 
that God here complains concerning men. But that is a mistake : 

LXX. 8pdao-0 TraiSfias. Jerome, Adorate pure. Ewald, 
however, (Poetischen Biicher. in. p. 66) prefers the LXX. and Vulgate. He 
translates " nehme Rath an."] 

[ 2 HEW Tb^. The Vulgate follows the LXX. papvicdpSioi, ; they 
read, HD l 


the speech is not God s, but David s, complaining of the boldness 
and wickedness of his enemies. " sons of men, ye insolent 
foes of mine, who, buoyed up with arrogance and fury, despise all 
others, how long will ye treat my glory with ignominy ?" But 
Bellarmine pretends that God speaks and complains of men for 
neglecting eternal things, and loving temporal ; which kind of men 
are heavy of heart by reason of their own fault, yet the glory of 
God by reason of the divine goodness. Who now will not confess 
that Bellarmine is a notable interpreter of the Psalms ? Does God 
then call those who are heavy of heart his glory ? Does God 
call those men his glory, who despise the things of heaven and 
pursue the things of earth ? Who must not laugh at such an 
exposition? Genebrard, however, hath explained the meaning 
better, who by the glory of David understands God himself, to 
wards whom these men were disrespectful. 

The third place is Psalm xxxi. 4 : Conversus sum in cerwnna 
mea, dum configitur spina 1 . These ought to be translated, as 
Bellarmine himself translates them from the Hebrew : " My juice 
is without moisture, and my freshness is turned into the summer 
droughts." These versions are sufficiently different. Yet Bellar 
mine says that the Vulgate interpreter cannot be blamed in this 
place. He alleges two pleas in defence of him. One is, that he 
translated not from the Hebrew, but from the Greek into Latin ; 
the other, that there is an error of the transcribers in the 
Hebrew. To the first I answer, that the fact of his translating 
from the Greek, and not the Hebrew, makes more for the blame 
than for the excuse of that interpretation : for in proportion as 
the Greek yields to the Hebrew text in fidelity and authority, in 
the same proportion must the value be depreciated of a version 
made not from the Hebrew but from the Greek. Then, as to his 
suspicion that the Hebrew text hath been here corrupted by the 
scribes, it is an assertion which Genebrard hath not ventured to 
make, nor would any one but Bellarmine, unless he were extrava 
gantly prejudiced against the Hebrew originals, think of saying 
it; nor indeed would Bellarmine himself, most probably, have 
raised such a suspicion, if he had been able to excuse this error in 
any other way. The Hebrew words afford a certain and easy 
sense. The Latin will scarcely bear any tolerable explanation. 
For what is the meaning of dum configitur spina ? The ancients 

In the Hebrew, Ps. xxxii. 4.] 


expounded the thorn to denote sin : Bellarmine says that we should 
understand the thorn of calamity. Be it so. But what then will 
be meant by dum configitur spina ? The Greek reading, though 
not deserving much commendation, is yet intelligible, ei> ria e/m- 
Trayrjvai JJLOL aKavOav " while the thorn is driven into me." I 
see what this means ; but I wish that Bellarmine would give some 
interpretation, consistent with the laws of grammar, of the other, 
dum configitur spina. 

Bellarmine s explanation of the former clause of this verse, 
Conversus sum in cerumna, which he makes to mean, " I am 
turned to repentance in the time of trouble," is neither admitted by 
Jerome s version, nor approved by Genebrard, who observes that 
the word Haphac is scarce ever spoken of repentance*. 

The fourth place is in the same Psalm, verse 9 : In chamo et 
frceno maxillas eorum astringe, qui non approximant ad te. The 
place should have been rendered thus : " Their mouth must be 
held in with bit and bridle, lest they come nigh to thee 3 ." Bel 
larmine says that Calvin here exhibits amazing impudence. Why ? 
Because, says he, the Septuagint 4 and Saint Jerome, and all the 
fathers, always read this passage as it is read now. 

I answer, first, that the Seventy have varied in many places 
very widely from the Hebrew, and Jerome gives large testimony 
to the fact. Secondly, Jerome in this place abstained from changing 
the old version, not because he deemed it incapable of amendment, 
but because he thought it was tolerable as it stood. Thirdly, the 
fathers reading according to the present text is nothing to the 
purpose : they follow the version in common use, which from an 
indifferent Greek text was made a worse Latin. But further, in 
reply to Bellarmine s assertion that the Hebrew words, even as 
they are now read, may very well bear this interpretation, I must 
say that it would have been better to have proved this, than 
merely to have said it. Certainly Pagninus, Vatablus, Montanus, 
and Tremellius were of a different opinion ; and Genebrard owns 
that the sentence was indeed broken up by the Septuagint, but 

[ 2 I can find no instance of such a use of ^SH.] 

[3 The Hebrew is ?$** nilp ^ 0^1$ VTJJ ]D*TT:inM, thus 
rendered by Ewald : Zaum und ziigel miissen dessen Bachen Schliessen, der 
sich dir nicht freundlich naht, p. 35, ut supra.] 

[4 f V ^aAtpo) Koi Kr]p,u> ras orayoj/a? avT&v ayai rcoi/ p.^ eyyi6vTa>v Trpos (re. 

Jerome : In camo et freno maxillas ejus constringis, ut non appropinquet ad 


for the sake of making it more easy. In fact, however, they have 
made it more intricate and difficult by this plan of breaking it up. 
For the prophet warns us not to be devoid of reason and discretion, 
"like the horse and the mule, whose mouths must be held in with 
bit and bridle, lest they fall upon us." The old translator hath set 
forth a totally different sense of the words, as if God had com 
manded David to bind with bit and bridle the throats of all those 
who (in Genebrard s words) do not approach " thy nature, which is that 
of a man, reason and virtue." Nothing could possibly be alleged 
more remote from the prophet s meaning than such an exposition. 

The fifth place is in Psalm xxxvii. 8 : Quoniam lumbi mei 
repleti sunt illusionibus 1 . Calvin asks, how we are to understand 
that his reins were filled with illusions ? Bellarmine says that the 
Hebrew word denotes not only shame, but heat 2 . I answer, that 
this is indeed true ; but how then does he interpret his loins being 
" filled with illusions ? " Forsooth, by putting the effect for the 
cause ; since David speaks of the heat and titillation of lust, which 
produces illusions in the mind. Away with this. Nothing was 
farther from the Psalmist s meaning. Genebrard hath made a much 
better attempt, who by these "illusions" understands diseases on 
account of which he was mocked and insulted by his enemies. For 
David s meaning is, that his loins or reins were filled with a sore 
and sharp disorder. 

The sixth place is Psal. Ixvii. 7 3 : Qui inhabitare facit unius 
moris in domo. The place should be rendered thus: " Who setteth 
the single, or solitary, persons in a family." Bellarmine says that 
the Hebrew words may very well receive several senses. I answer : 
The words will bear but one true sense, and that an easy and 
ready one. Amongst the praises of God, the prophet mentions this, 
that those who are by themselves, that is, the desolate and solitary, 
without kindred, friends or wealth, are so increased, enriched, and 
adorned by him, as now to have families, in which are contained 
both children and servants. Thus Pagninus renders the words, and 
Vatablus and Montanus, and, in the old times, Jerome. The He 
brew word does not denote novoTpoTrows (as the Seventy render it 4 ), 

[ l In the Hebrew, xxxviii. 7.] 

[ 2 n?pj). The Radical of j"ftp> i n the sense of heat, seems the same as 
appears in cal-eo, caZ-or.] 

[3 Heb. Ps. Ixviii. 6.] 

[ 4 The Seventy seem unjustly blamed here. They used fiovorpoTros, in 
the sense recognised by good authors, to express the notion of solitariness. 


that is of one manner, but solitary or lone persons. So that all 
the common disquisitions upon this place concerning similitude of 
manners and the identity of tastes, however true in themselves, are 
foreign to the subject and impertinent to the matter in hand. 

The seventh place is in the next verse of the same Psalm : Qui 
habitant in sepulchris. Calvin contends that we should read, " in 
a dry place 5 ." By this expression, says Bellarmine, the translator 
wished to declare the horrors of that desert from which God brought 
his people forth. 

I answer : This man imagines that the Latin version of the 
Psalms, in its present state, is nobly defended, and his duty as its 
champion sufficiently discharged, when he is able to assign any 
sense at all to the words, no matter what, provided it be not impious 
and heretical. As if nothing else were required of a translator of 
scripture, but only to express some sense or other not absolutely 
absurd, however remote from the real meaning of the Holy Spirit. 
For what can be more foreign to the mind of David than this 
meaning which our opponent ascribes to these words? The pro 
phet is not, as Bellarmine supposes him to be, speaking of that 
desert out of which God had brought his people, which might, for 
its horridness, be compared to the tombs ; but is saying that those 
who prove rebellious are thrust by God into dry and thirsty regions. 
What hath this to do with the desert through which God led his 
people into the land of Canaan ? But this is not all that Calvin 
finds fault with in the verse before us. For the words sound thus 
in the Hebrew : "He bringeth forth those that are bound with 
chains, but the rebels dwell in a very dry place." The Latin 
interpreter translates them thus, falsely and foolishly : Qui educit 
vinctos in fortitudine, similiter eos qui exasperant, qui habitant 
in sepulchris. What could possibly be expressed with greater con 
fusion ? Yet Genebrard applies to this place some medicine in his 
scholium, to cure the disorder of the Latin version. The words, 
according to him, are to be thus explained ; that the rebels, who 
dwell in the sepulchres, or the dry places, are brought forth and 
delivered from death and the devil, or from dangers and evils. 
Thus this man by his exposition changes a most gloomy punishment 

It is so used by Josephus, B. J. II. xxi. 1, where he speaks of John of Giscala, 
\rja-Trjs yap r]v fjLovorpoTros, eVara Kal (rvvodlav fvpe rfjs ToX/jLijs ; and by Plutarch 
in Pelopid. c. 3., p-ovorpoTrov (3iov air apx*l s f^opfvos. Compare Bochart. 
Hierozoic. P. I. Lib. n. c. 45. col. 491.] 
[5 nrPTO. LXX. eVrctyoir.] 


into a most joyous and delightful benefit. If this be interpreting 
scripture, it certainly will be easy enough to make scripture say 
any thing we please. 

The eighth place is in the same Psalm, verse 12, &c. Dominus 
dabit verbum evangelizantibus virtute multa. Rex virtutum 
dilecti, dilecti, et speciei domus divide spolia. Si dormiatis inter 
medios cleros, pennce columbce deargentatce, et posteriora dorsi ejus 
in pallor e auri 1 . These are not the oracles of the Holy Spirit, but 
rather, as Calvin truly says of them, senigmas which GEdipus himself 
could never solve. It is not only difficult to elicit and educe any 
consistent meaning at all from these words, utterly incoherent as they 
are ; but to torture them into any thing which approaches the mean 
ing of the prophet exceeds all the powers of art. Yet, if you please, let 
us have the explanation of Bellarmine. Rex virtutum dilecti 
dilecti: that is, the King most mighty, and Father of Messiah his 
entirely beloved Son. Speciei domus divide spolia : that is, he 
will give to the preachers to divide the spoils of nations, for the 
beauty of the house, that is, the adornment of the church : for 
that speciei is in the dative case, and is equivalent to ad speciem. 
Wondrous well ! First let me ask him whence he gets those two 
words, " he will give," and " to the preachers," which are not con 
tained in this verse through the whole compass of its words ? For 
the preceding verse is divided from it in the Hebrew and the Greek, 
and the version of Jerome ; and those words can by no means be 
carried over into it. Next, it is absolutely intolerable to make 
speciei the same as ad speciem, so as that divider e spolia speciei 
domus shall mean, "to divide spoils to the beauty," that is, to 
the grace and adornment " of the house," which is the church. 
Who speaks Latin after this fashion? 

Genebrard hath excogitated another interpretation, more tole 
rable indeed, but still alien from the prophet s meaning. He denies 
that Rex virtutum here means God, but supposes it to denote 
any very brave and powerful prince. The sense therefore will be 

[! In the Greek, O Qebs Kvpios So>o-ei prip-a rots vayy\L^op,voLs 8vvdp,fi 
TroAA?/. O /3a<nAevs roiv Swa/xecoi/ TOV dyaTr^roi), TOV dycnrrjTov, /cat apaiOTrjTi 
TOV OIKOV SieAeV&u ovcvAa. They took JllK^ *O/2? as one word, regarding 
the > as merely a vowel of composition, as it is in pl^jJD, and other 
proper names, JWT^ they derived from "IT dilexit, taking the termination 
p for a diminutive ; and gaye to rtft a meaning of which its radical shews 
traces in the Hiphil voice, Exod. xv. 2.] 


this : The most powerful princes shall be the Beloved s, that is, 
shall yield to the Beloved of God, or the Son of God : and speciei 
he makes not the dative, but the genitive, (although in spite of the 
authority- of the Greek text which exhibits Trj (vpaioTrjTi,) and 
explains thus ; "it is of the beauty of the house to divide the spoil," 
that is, it pertains to the glory of the house of God to divide 
the spoils of conquered kings, that is, demons. Is not this now a 
neat interpretation? The remainder is thus explained by Bel- 
larmine. Si dormiatis inter medios cleros : that is, if you, 
preachers, remain between two lots, the heavenly and the earthly, 
that is, be not wholly engaged in action nor wholly in contem 
plation, but in a mean between both, then shall the church be like 
a most beautiful dove, &c. But ought the preachers to be in the 
middle between action and contemplation ? What else can this 
mean but to keep clear of either action or contemplation ; in other 
words, to be wholly useless? Dormire inter medios cleros, is, in 
an unexampled manner, translated, " to sleep between the two lots ;" 
and then these two lots are most absurdly understood of action and 
contemplation. But everything hath its proper counterpart 2 , and 
the exposition suits the version. Genebrard confesses that the wits 
of all expositors have been, as it were, crucified in seeking an ex 
planation of this passage : undoubtedly it tortured Bellarmine. But 
how hath Genebrard himself taken away this cross ? Dormire 
inter medios cleros is, if we believe Genebrard, to be in the most 
certain and imminent perils. Our translators generally explain the 
word, which the Latin version represents by cleros, to mean " the 
pots 3 ." But Bellarmine says that it cannot possibly bear that sig 
nification. The contrary, however, is the opinion of Genebrard, the 
king s professor of Hebrew in the university of Paris, who tells us 
that the Hebrew term denotes cauldrons, tripods, or pots. 

You have now heard how perplexed, confused, and tortured are 

[ 2 Whitaker s words are, " Similes habent labra laetucas." The proverb 
occurs in Jerome, and is thus explained by Erasmus : " Usurpat, simulque 
interpretatur, hoc proverbium Divus Hieronymus, scribens ad Chromatium 
in hunc modum : Secundum illud quoque, de quo semel in vita Crassum 
ait risisse Lucilius ; similcm habent labra lactucam, asino carduos come- 
dente : videlicet ut perforatam navim debilis gubernator regat, et cseci csecos 
ducant in foveam, et talis sit rector quales illi qui reguntur." Adagia. p. 644. 
Hanov. 1617.] 

[3 D?JpS^, the meaning of which is much disputed. Gesenius renders 
it, " stabula, caulse." So E wald, " So ofs ihr zwischen Hurden ruhet."] 


all these explications. But the Hebrew text hath no similar diffi 
culty in it ; which Pagninus and Montanus translate thus : " Kings 
of armies fled, they fled ; and she that dwelt at home divided the 
spoil. If ye have lain in the midst of the pots, ye shall be as the 
plumage of a dove, which is covered with silver, and her wings 
with yellow gold." This text hath given the interpreters no such 
torture, as, according to Genebrard, hath, in the case of the Latin, 
set them on the rack. 

The ninth place is in the same Psalm at verse 17 : Ut quid 
suspicamini mantes coagulates ? Calvin says that we should read, 
" Why do ye envy the fat mountains ?" In regard of this place 
Bellarmine hath no other answer to give but this, that the Hebrew 
word l is found nowhere else but here ; and therefore, since we 
must abide by the judgment of some interpreters, the Seventy 
should be preferred to all the rest. If this be so, how comes it 
that Jerome and Vatablus and Pagninus and Montanus, and all 
who have translated the Psalter from the Hebrew, have put a dif 
ferent sense upon that word ? If we must abide by the judgment 
of the Seventy, on account either of their own or the church s 
authority, they who have assigned another meaning to this word 
cannot be defended. But let us follow the seventy interpreters, 
and inquire into the meaning of the word. The words stand 
thus in the Greek Psalter, iva T L JTroXa/u/Bai/ere oprj Tervpw- 
meva. ; which the Latin translator renders thus ; Ut quid sus 
picamini monies coagulatos ? Why hath Bellarmine concealed 
from us the meaning of these words ? What is it to suspect co 
agulated mountains ? Bellarmine would do us a favour if he would 
inform us. 

The tenth place is in the same Psalm also, at verse 19, Etenim 
non credentes inhabitare Dominum Deum; which translation agrees 
neither with the Hebrew 2 , nor with the Greek. That it does not 
agree with the Hebrew, is no way surprising, since it is not derived 
from it. But, at least, it should not depart from the Greek, from 
which it hath been taken. Yet depart it does, and very widely. 
For the Greek edition reads the passage thus : KOI yap aweiOovvras 
TOV KaTCKTKrjvuxrai. Here there is a full stop ; and then a new 
sentence begins, Kvpios o Geos evXoyrjTos. If the Latin had no 

[* D^ll;! rendered by Jerome, excelsl ; by Ewald, gipfeligen ; by Gesenius, 
cacumina ; substantially to the same sense.] 

[2 : D^rfttf PT p^ on-lib 


other fault save that of its ambiguity and obscurity, it ought not to 
be defended. 

The eleventh is also in the same Psalm, verse 23 : Convertam in 
profundum marls. The Hebrew words denote the very opposite : 
" I will bring back from the depths of the sea 3 ." Here Bellarmine 
acknowledges a mistake, and says that some copies of the Vulgate 
have not in profundum, but in profundis ; and he explains conver- 
tere in profundis maris to mean, drawing out those who are in the 
depths of the sea. But if this reading and interpretation be the 
true, as Bellarmine confesses, why have not the Louvain critics 
preferred it to the other which is false ? Although perhaps the 
grammarians will not concede to Bellarmine that to convert in the 
deep of the sea, is the same as to bring forth from the depths of 
the sea. 

The twelfth place is in the same Psalm, verse 28 : Ibi Benjamin 
adolescentulus in mentis excessu. Which translation Bellarmine 
defends warmly, and maintains that these words are to be under 
stood of the apostle Paul, who was of the tribe of Benjamin ; and 
who, in the transport of his mind, is related to have slept so 
soundly that he did not know whether he were in the body or out of 
the body. And because the Hebrew word, which the old interpreter 
hath rendered, In mentis excessu, signifies a prince or governor, he 
combines this interpretation with the former, because Paul was the 
chief ruler and spiritual prince of the church of the Gentiles. Thus 
there is nothing with which Bellarmine cannot bravely reconcile his 
interpretations. But who can believe that David is here speaking 
of Paul ? or that the Hebrew word 4 is capable of the meaning 
which the old interpreter hath put upon it ? Jerome gives a dif 
ferent rendering, Continens eos : Aquila, " their commander : " 
Theodotion, " the teacher of them," as we learn from Theodoret 
in his Commentaries upon the Psalms. All the later translators too 
differ from the Vulgate, giving Lord, Ruler, Prince, and never "in 
a trance." But, at any rate, Bellarmine s device of combining 
both translations is a stroke of excessive subtilty ; for the He 
brew cannot possibly mean both, but at least one or other. There 
must needs therefore be an error here either in our editions or in 
the old Latin. 

[3 : D^ nftD 1W . In the LXX. emorptya Iv /Svtfol? 
[ 4 D"]H> LXX. ev eWracm, deriving it from D1H, which is used, in 
Niphal, to denote deep slumber and prostration of sense.] 


The thirteenth place is Psalm cxxxi. [cxxxii.] 15 : Viduam ejus 
benedicens benedicam. It is in the Hebrew, " her victuals." There 
cannot possibly be a more shameful mistake than this. For what hath 
the Lord s promise to supply us abundantly with victuals, and, as 
it were, to care for our necessary provisions ; what hath this, I say, 
to do with "a widow?" Here, though Bellarmine cannot avoid 
acknowledging a manifest error, yet he does not think that the 
place should be altered, because viduam hath been ever read and 
chanted in the church. Is it thus that errors are defended by 
their antiquity ? Could the church thus perversely interpret 
scripture ? Is it so, that false interpretations should not be cor 
rected when once confirmed by long usage in the church ? That 
we should read victum and not viduam, the Hebrew word itself 
cries out to us, Jerome testifies in his Psalter and his Questions on 
Genesis, Symmachus, cited by Theodoret, on the Psalms, Chryso- 
stom and Theodoret himself. The fact that some Latin copies of 
the Vulgate edition have viduam, hath arisen from an error of cer 
tain Greek MSS., in which xypav was read instead of Orjpav. Yet 
so obstinate are our adversaries in the defence of all errors that, 
let the mistake be never so notorious and the cause of it never so 
manifest, they will nevertheless endure no change, no correction. 

Hitherto then Bellarmine hath fought his best for the old Latin 
edition of the Psalms, and yet hath no great reason to suppose that 
he hath fully acquitted himself of his task. For these which Calvin 
hath touched are but a few errors, if compared with that multitude 
which are to be found in that old Latin edition of the Psalms. To 
enable you the more readily to perceive this, I will adduce the 
testimony of a single Psalm ; and that shall be the ninetieth (or, as 
they reckon, the eighty-ninth), which was composed by Moses the 
man of God. Let us briefly run over some verses of this Psalm, 
and compare their old Latin version with the Hebrew text. In the 
third verse the Latin copies read, following the version of the 
seventy translators : Ne convertas hominem in humilitatem ; 
et dixisti, convertimini filii hominum. The Hebrew original yields 
a far different sense : " Thou convertest man to contrition, and 
sayest, Return, ye children of men." How different are these two 
sentences ! In the fifth verse the old Latin hath : Quce pro nihilo 
habentur, eorum anni erunt ; of which words I am not sure that 
any sense can be given. In the Hebrew it is thus : " Thou takest 
them off with a flood : they are asleep." In the eighth verse the 
Vulgate reads ; Posuisti seculum nostrum in illuminationem vul- 


tus tui. In the Hebrew text it is : " Thou hast set our secrets in 
the light of thy countenance." In the nineteenth verse it is thus 
in the Vulgate : Quoniam omnes dies nostri defecerunt, et in ira 
tua defecimus.- Anni nostri sicut aranea meditabantur : dies 
annorum nostrorum in ipsis septuaginta anni : $i autem in poten- 
tatibus, octoginta anni : et amplius eorum labor et dolor ; quo- 
niam supervenit mansuetudo, et corripiemur. What is the 
meaning of these words? or what interpreter is there learned 
enough (always excepting Genebrard) to undertake to give a suit 
able explanation of them ? The Hebrew is quite otherwise, both in 
expression and in sense : " For all our days have declined in thine 
anger, we have spent our years like a tale. The days of our years, 
there are seventy years in them, or, at most, eighty years. Even 
the best of them is labour and trouble : when it is past, forthwith 
we flee away." 

In the eleventh and twelfth verses the Vulgate reads thus : Et 
prce timore tuo iram tuam dinumerare. Dextram tuam sic 
notum fac, et eruditos corde in sapientia. In the Hebrew it is : 
"And as thy fear, is thy wrath : so teach us to number our days, 
and we shall bring our heart to wisdom." In the sixteenth verse, 
the Vulgate hath : Respice in servos tuos, et in opera tua, et dirige 
filios eorum. But the Hebrew : " Let thy work be clear to thy 
servants, and thy beauty in their children." 

This is sufficient to shew us how remarkable is the agreement 
between the Hebrew original and the Latin edition. There are 
seventeen verses in this Psalm ; and I will venture to say that 
there are more errors in the old version of it than there are verses 
in the Psalm. But should any one suspect that the Hebrew text 
which is now in our hands is corrupt, let him consult Jerome s 
version in his Psalter and in his 139th Epistle to Cyprian 1 , where he 
will find the same Hebrew text of this Psalm as we have at present. 
The same is the case of the other Psalms also ; so that it may be 
said with truth, that these which they read and chant in their 
sacred offices, are not the Psalms of David, but the blunders of the 
Greek and Latin translators. And since Bellarmine, at the close of 
his Defence, presses us strongly with the testimony of Pellican, I 
will pay him back with two for his one, and return him his own 
with interest. 

The first is that of Bruno Amerbach, in the Preface to his 
readers, which he has prefixed to his Psalter of Jerome ; where, 
speaking of the old Greek and Latin editions of the Psalms, he 
C 1 Ep. cxl. ed. Yallars. T. i. p. 1042.] 


says : " I have added the Greek, with which corresponds the next 
column, that common translation which is every where in use, 
which is the work of an uncertain author, and, to tell the truth, is 
sometimes utterly at variance with the Greek copy. Whether we 
are to blame for this the negligence of the translator, or the care 
lessness of the transcribers, or, which is more probable, the pre 
sumptuous ignorance of some meddling coxcomb, is a question which 
I shall not now examine 1 ." The second is that of Lindanus a 
follower of the popish cause, who, in his third book de Optimo 
Gen. Interpr. c. 6, expresses his opinion that the Greek edition of 
the Psalms is not the version of the seventy interpreters, but of 
the apostate Symmachus, and that this old Latin translation is the 
work of some obscure Greek. His words are these : " After fre 
quent and deep reflection upon the translator of our Latin edition, 
I seem to perceive many indications which suggest to me a suspicion 
that the man was not a Latin, but some petty Grecian. Surely the 
ancient Church 1500 years ago, which used this version, could not 
have degenerated so much in so short a time from the purity of the 
Latin tongue. For the strange renderings which occur both in the 
Psalms and the new Testament are more numerous than we can 
possibly suppose the blunders of any man conversant with the Latin 
tongue, even learned from common talk and not from reading 2 ." 
And then he goes on to prove, that the Greek edition of the Psalms 
now extant is not that ancient one which was composed by the 
seventy interpreters 3 . Hence we may learn what to think of 
Genebrard, who, in his Epistle to Castellinus, bishop of llimini, 
maintains that this Greek edition is not only catholic, but either 
apostolical or the Septuagint. So far of the book of Psalms. 

[ l Grsecum item adjecimus, cui respondet e regione translatio, quse 
passim legitur, adrjXos, hoc est, auctore incerto, nonnunquam, ut dicam id 
quod res est, Sis dia TraaSv ab exemplari Grseco dissidens. Cujus rei culpa 
in interpretis oscitantiam, aut in librariorum incuriam, aut, quod verisimilius 
sit, alicujus nebulonis audacem imperitiam rejici debeat, nolo excutere in 

[ 2 Ssepe multumque de nostrse Latinse editionis interprete cogitans, plu- 
rima videre videor quse ad suspicandum me invitant, ut non Latinum hominem 
sed Grseculum quempiam fuisse existimem. Siquidem ilia prisca ecclesia, 
ante annos 1500 hoc versione usa, haud ita potuit a Romanse linguae puritate 
intra tantillum temporis degenerare. Nam quse cum in Psalmis, turn in 
Novo Testamento occurrunt versionis offendicula, majora sunt quam ut ab 
homine Latinse linguce, etiam quse non jam ex lectione, sed ex sermone disci- 
tur, potuerint peccari. p. 106. Colon. 1558.] 

[ 3 Compare Hody, Lib. iv. p. 588.] 




FINALLY, Bellarmine now undertakes the defence of the old 
Latin edition of the new Testament, and answers the objections 
of Chemnitz and Calvin to those places which they have asserted 
to be corrupted by the Latin translator. We proceed to break the 
force of this portion also of Bellarmine s defence, and to shew that 
the Greek original in the new Testament is purer than the Latin 

The first place is Matth. ix. 13 : Non veni vocare justos, sed 
peccatores. Chemnitz asserts that a most noble passage is here 
mutilated, because the Latin hath nothing to represent " to re 
pentance 4 ." Bellarmine s defence consists of three heads. First, 
he says that that clause is found in some Latin copies. I answer, 
that, however, it is not found in those which they use as the most 
correct and authentic, that is, the copies of that edition which the 
Louvain divines have published. And in their latest missal, when 
this part of the gospel is repeated upon the Feast of St. Matthew, 
the clause in question is omitted. 

Secondly, he pretends that it is most likely that this clause is 
superfluous in the Greek, and did not appear in the more accurate 

I answer, that this is by no means likely, since Chrysostom 
read that clause, as appears from his commentaries ; and it is likely 
that Chrysostom had access to the most correct MSS. Theophylact 
too found the same clause in his copies ; and Robert Stephens in 
those numerous and very faithful ones (one of which was the 
Complutensian) by the help of which he corrected his edition of 
the new Testament. 

Thirdly, he says that this clause is not necessary, since to 
call sinners and not the righteous, is the same thing as to exhort 
to repentance those who need it. 

I answer, that it is plainly necessary, because Luke, without 
all controversy, adds these words, chap. v. 32. For thus, by the 
unanimous suffrage of all the copies, we read in Luke, OVK eXrjXvOa 
/caAecrctt cWcuoi/s, aXX ajuapTwXous el? /ueraYomi/. Besides, the 

[ 4 tis pcravoiav is wanting in the Vatican, Cambridge, and other ancient 
MSS. ; in the Persian, Syriac, Ethiopic, and Armenian versions, as well as in 
the Vulgate.] 



reason of the thing leads us to the same conclusion. For it is one 
thing to call sinners, and another to call sinners to repentance ; as 
Theophylact writes, with great truth, upon this place in Matthew : 
ov% iva fJLLV(x)o-iv ajuLaprooXoi, ct\\ iva neTavoqcrcoaiv "not that 
they should remain sinners, but that they should repent." 

The second place is John xiv. 26 : Spiritus Sanctus suggeret 
vobis omnia, qucecunque dixero vobis. The papists abuse this 
passage to prove, that whatever is denned in councils should be 
received as the oracles of the Holy Spirit. But in the Greek it is 
not "I shall say," but, "I have said," a CITTOV J/mli/. Bellarmine 
says that the sense is the same as in the Greek ; since we are to 
understand it to mean, not " what I shall then say," but " what I 
shall now say." 

I answer. The papists seize greedily upon all occasions, how 
ever futile and absurd, to gain proof for their dogmas, and not 
seldom use arguments which are founded only in the errors of a 
translation. Thus from this place they gather that the Holy Ghost 
is the author of all the dogmas which they have invented and 
confirmed in their councils, although they cannot be supported by 
any scripture evidence. But Christ did not promise that he would 
hereafter say something which the Holy Ghost should teach them, 
but that what he had already said to them should be recalled to 
their mind and memory by the Holy Ghost. For Christ says not, 
TrdvTa a av ei7ro> Vfj.1v, but a elirov v^lv. Christ, therefore, had 
already told them all; but they had not yet learned it accurately 
enough, nor committed it to memory. Whence the falsehood of 
Bellarmine s exposition sufficiently appears ; since Christ does not 
say, as he supposes, "The Spirit shall suggest to you whatever I 
ehall now say," but " whatever I have already said to you :" for a 
elirov does not mean " what I shall say," but " what I have said." 
Thus the Latin version of this place is false, and even Bellarmine s 
own exposition proves it false. 

The third place is Rom. i. 4 : Qui prcedestinatus est films 
Dei. In the Greek it is opiaOevTos, i. e. who was declared or 
manifested. Bellarmine tells us that op u(eiv never in the scrip 
tures means to declare, and that all the Latins read thus, Qui 
prazdestinatus est. 

I answer. Firstly, that opi^eiv in this place does denote " to 
declare," as Chrysostom interprets it, who cannot be supposed 
ignorant of the just force and significance of the word. For 
having, in his first Homily upon the Romans, put the question, TI 


ovv eo-riv opLaOei Tos ; he subjoins as synonymous terms, 
TOS, aTTotyavOevTos, KpiOevTos where he teaches us that 
in this passage means nothing else but to declare, shew, or judge. 
In the same way CEcumenius asserts that TOV opiaOevTos is equi 
valent to TOV a.Tro^ei xOevTos or eTriyviDaOevTos. Nor do Theodoret 
or Theophylact vary from this explanation : so that Bellarmine s 
confident assertion is manifestly destitute of all truth. What may 
be said with truth is, that neither in the scriptures nor anywhere 
else does opifyiv mean the same thing as to predestinate. 

Secondly, the Latin fathers followed the Vulgate translator, 
by whom this word is unskilfully and absurdly rendered, as Eras 
mus and Faber and Cajetan tell us, and as every one who knows 
any thing of Greek must needs confess. As to Bellarmine s 
assertion, that defined and predestinated are perfectly equivalent 
terms, I leave it without hesitation to the general judgment of all 
learned men. 

The fourth place is Rom. i. at the end, where we have in the 
Vulgate edition, Qui cum justitiam Dei cognovisscnt, non intellex- 
erunt, quoniam qui talia agunt digni sunt morte ; non solum qui 
ea faciunt, sed etiam qui consentiunt facientibus 1 . Chemnitz, 
Valla, Erasmus, and others, agree that this place is corrupt. For 
in the Greek text it runs thus : otTii/es TO SiKaiw/uia TOV GeoD 
eVi yi OJ Tes (on o\ TO. TOICLVTO. TrpacrcrovTes aioi OCLVCLTOV eicnV) 
ov fjiovov avTa TToiova-iv, ctAAa KOL avvevcoKovcrt roTs Trpctaraovo i. 
Yet Bellarmine is not ashamed to say that the Latin reading is the 
truer. For, says he, according to the Greek the sense is, that it 
is worse to consent to an evildoer than to do ill oneself; whereas, 
taken absolutely, it is worse to do ill than to consent to another 
doing ill. 

I answer : Bellarmine is not very accurate in his estimate of 
the magnitude of sins. For to have pleasure in the wicked is one 
of those gravest sins, which are not committed but by the most 
abandoned men. To sin at all is of itself impious, and deserves 
eternal punishment, however much it be done against our better con 
science and with internal struggles ; but to approve our sins and 
those of other men, to deem them well done, to applaud them in 
our feelings and judgment, and to take pleasure in sins (which is 

[ l This reading of the Vulgate is however strongly supported by the 
Clermont MS., and the apparent citation in Clement s 1 Ep. ad Cor. c. 35 
(pp. 120, 122, ed. Jacobson). Mill and Wetstein declare in its favour; but see 
on the other side Whitby, Examen Var. Lect. n. 1. 1. n. 16.] 

* 132 


what the apostle means by a-vvevSoKeiv), is almost the very height 
and climax of iniquity. This is the assent which Paul condemns 
in this place, and which is indeed almost the last step in sin. The 
sense of the Greek therefore is very true ; and is what is given by 
the Greek interpreters, Chrysostom, Theodoret, CEcumenius and 
Theophylact. And in all the Greek copies which Stephens followed, 
that is, all which he could by any means procure, there was no 
variety of reading in this place. That the Latin fathers read it 
otherwise, need not surprise us ; since they did not consult the 
originals, but drew from the streams of this Vulgate translator. 
And though Bellarmine affirms the Latin text to be altogether pre 
ferable to the Greek, yet other papists entertain an altogether dif 
ferent opinion. " To speak my mind freely," says Catharinus, 
upon the first chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, " the Greek 
reading pleases me far better. The construction runs on easily and 
without any rubs 1 ." 

The fifth place is Rom. iv. 2 ; where Abraham is said not to 
have been justified by works. In their Latin edition it is added 
" of the law," as if the apostle were speaking of the ceremonies of 
the law. But Bellarmine says that all, or almost all, the Latin 
copies omit the word legis. This I admit, if he speak of the copies 
at present generally in men s hands : for some centuries ago all, 
or almost all, the copies had legis, as is plain from some ancient 
fathers, the scholastic divines, Lyra, Aquinas, Carthusianus, and 
others. How the passage ought to be understood, and what kinds 
of works the Apostle excludes from justification, shall be explained 
hereafter in its proper place. 

The sixth place is Rom. xi. 6 ; where these words are omitted, 
" But if it be of works, then is it not of grace : otherwise work is 
no more work 2 ." Bellarmine confesses that this sentence is in the 
Greek, but says that it is recognised by none of the commentators 
upon this place except Theophylact. Which assertion is wholly 
untrue ; since CEcumenius exhibits and explains this same sentence, 
as also Theodoret and Chrysostom : which latter he nevertheless 
affirms, naming him expressly, not to have made any mention of 
this sentence. Bellarmine did not examine Chrysostom in this 

f 1 Ne quid autem dissimulem, longe magis mi placet Grseca lectio : 

facile procedit litera et sine ullo scrupulo. Comm. in Epp. Paul. p. 21. Paris. 

[ 2 This clause is omitted in the Alexandrian, and several other ancient 



place, but gave too much credit to Erasmus, who falsely denies that 
it is to be found in Chrysostom 3 . For Chrysostom reads it thus : 
el Se ef epywv OVK en eeri ^api^ CTTCI TO epyov OVK en eorrt 
cpyov. But what if the clause were not to be found in the 
commentaries of these writers ? Must we, therefore, deem it 
spurious ? By no means. For the Greek copies, and very nu 
merous MSS. of the greatest fidelity, and the most ancient Syrian 
translator, will suffice to prove that this sentence came from the 
apostle s pen; whose evidence is still more confirmed by the very 
antithesis of the context and the sequence of the reasoning. For, 
as the apostle says, " If it be of grace, then it is not of works ; for 
then grace would not be grace ;" so to balance the antithesis he 
must say, "If it be of works, it is not of grace ; for then work 
would not be work." 

The seventh place is Eph. v. 32 : Sacramentum hoc magnum 
est. Where our divines have no other complaint to make, but that 
the papists abuse the ambiguity of the term to prove that matrimony 
is a sacrament. For the word in the Greek is /mvcrTriptov, which 
is never in scripture used to denote what we properly call a sacra 
ment. It is absurd, therefore, for the schoolmen to conclude from 
this place that matrimony is a sacrament. Cajetari s words are 
these 4 : "A prudent reader will not gather from this place that 
Paul teaches that marriage is a sacrament. For he does not say, 
This is a sacrament, but a great mystery." For which true speech 
of his the cardinal receives hard usage from Ambrose Catharinus in 
the fourth book of his Annotations. 

The eighth place is Eph. vi. 13 : Ut possitis resistere in die 
malo, et in omnibus perfecti stare. In the Greek it is aTravra 
KaTepyaadimevoi, which does not mean perfect in all things. 
Some explain the passage as if it were omnibus perfectis, " all 
things being complete," that is, when ye have procured and put on 
all the arms which are needful to you for this warfare. But 
Chrysostom (followed here by GEcumenius) hath better understood 
the force of the verb KaTcpydcraaOai. For KarepydvacrOai 
denotes to conquer completely, to subdue and quell all the powers 
of an adversary. The panoply here spoken of enables us not only 
to resist in the evil day, but also airavra Karepyavdnevoi, that is, 

[ 3 It is indeed in the Text, but not in the Commentary.] 

[ 4 Non habet ex hoc loco prudens lector a Paulo, conjugium esse sacra- 

mentum. Non enim dicit sacramentum, sed, Mysterium hoc magnum est. 

p. 278. 2. Paris. 1571.] 


having quelled and taken out of the way (for so Chrysostom and 
QEcumenius explain the apostle s expression) whatever opposes us, 
to stand firm ourselves and unconquered. 

Bat this is quite a different thing from the reading in the old 
books, in omnibus perfecti ; from which false rendering false ex 
planations also have arisen. Thomas explains the words "in all 
things" to mean in prosperity and in adversity ; and here he makes 
out a twofold perfection 1 , one of the way, the other of the home; 
which, although they are true in themselves, are things wholly 
impertinent to the passage before us. 

The ninth place is Heb. ix. 28 : Ad multorum exhaurienda 
peccata. In the Greek it is, et? TO 7ro\\cov aveveyiteiv d/mapr tcis 
which means, " to bear away the sins of many." Now sins are 
borne away when they are remitted, which takes place in this 
life ; but they are exhausted or drained off, when we are wholly 
purified and no remains of sin left in us, which does not take place 
in this life. For, since our adversaries seize on the most slender 
occasions to sophisticate the truth, the Holy Spirit must be every 
where vindicated from their calumnies. Now whereas Bellarmine says 
that the translator hath rendered this place with great propriety, I 
would desire him to produce an example where aveveyKeiv means 
to exhaust. For, although avcxpepto means "to bear upward," yet 
bearing up and drawing are not the same thing as exhausting or 
draining. He who draws from a fountain, does not consequently 
exhaust the fountain itself. But dixxpepew more frequently denotes 
"to take away or bear;" as, both in this place and another similar 
one, 1 Peter ii. 24, Christ is said dveveyicelv ets TO %v\ov our 
sins, that is, "to have borne them on the tree," as there even the 
old translator hath rendered it. 

The tenth place is Heb. xiii. 16: Talibus hostiis promeretur 
Deus. In the Greek it is, ToiavTais Ovcriais evapecrTeiTai o GeoV 
" with such sacrifices God is well pleased." Bellarmine is not 
ashamed to produce a defence of his own, such as it is, for this 
place also. In Latin, says he, one is correctly said to deserve 
well of the person whom he gratifies by his actions. 

I answer in the first place, that I grant that amongst men 
there is room for merit, since all things are not due to all. It 
may therefore be correctly said, that we deserve well of those 

P P. 171. Antverp. 1591. The Schoolmen were fond of the distinction 
of Via and Domus ; meaning by the former, the present, and by the latter, 
the eternal life.] 


upon whom we have bestowed any benefit which hath flowed merely 
from our own free choice. But when the matter is between us 
and God, farewell all merit ; since whatever we do pleasant to him, 
we yet do no more than we already owed to him. Wherefore 
when we have done all that we can do in any way, we are never 
theless still, as Christ expresses it, a-^pelot SovXot. Besides, I ask 
Bellarmine whether, in their theology, to deserve well of God means 
nothing more than to do what is pleasing to him. I would it were 
so : for then they would not err so much upon the merit of works. 
We ourselves say that the good works of the saints are grateful 
and pleasant to God ; but the whole dispute is about the merit of 
works. Lastly, how senseless is this expression, Talibus hostiis 
promeretur Deus ! 

The eleventh place is James v. 1 5 : Et alleviabit eum Dominus. 
In the Greek it is, K al eyepel avrov o Kvpios. "And the Lord 
shall raise him up." Here Bellarmine disputes, by the way, upon 
the effects of extreme unction against Chemnitz. Although there 
is no capital fault in the translation, yet the place might be more 
correctly rendered than it is by the Latin interpreter. As to. 
their popish unction, James makes no mention of it here; as 
Cajetan himself abundantly teaches us in his commentary upon the 
passage. His words are : " Neither in terms, nor in substance, 
do these words speak of the sacramental anointing of extreme 
unction 2 ;" which he proves by three very solid arguments drawn 
from the passage itself. But this is not the place for disputing 
concerning the sacramental unction. 

The last place is 1 John v. 13 : Hcec scribo vobis, ut sciatis 
quoniam vitam habetis ceternam, qui creditis in nomine Filii Dei. 
And so indeed the text is exhibited in some Greek copies, as 
Robert Stephens informs us in his Greek Testament. But the 
majority, even the Complutensian, otherwise, thus: TO.VTO. ypa\]/a 


on <corji> alcoviov eere, Kal ( iva TTLarTevrjre et9 TO ovo/ua 

TOV Yfoy TOV Qeov. But we do not choose to raise any great 
contention with oar opponent upon the reading of this passage, 
since there is no difference in the sense. For Bellarmine s attempt 
to shew that it is better in the Latin than in the Greek, because 
there was no need to admonish them to do what they had done 
already, is a mode of reasoning unworthy of so great a theologian. 

[ 2 Nee ex verbis, nee ex effectu, verba hsec loquuntur de sacramental! 
unctione extremse unctionis. p. 419.] 


For we too often admonish men to do what they are doing, ac 
cording to that saying, Qui monet ut facias quod jam fads ; and 
this is a thing of constant occurrence in the scriptures. Thus 
those who believe in Christ are to be perpetually admonished to 
increase and remain constant in that faith. 

And now Bellarmine thinks that he hath satisfactorily answered 
all our charges against the old translation of the new Testament. 
But how small a portion is this of the errors which may be found 
and censured in that version ! I am disposed therefore to bestow 
a little more time upon examining it, and producing some more 
of its faults, not all indeed (for that would be a tedious and difficult 
task), but still too many, so as to enable you the better to judge 
how very far it is from being pure and authentic. 

Matth. iii. 2, the old version hath, appropinquabit regnum 
coelorum. In the Greek it is fjyyufe, " hath drawn nigh." So 
also in chap. iv. 17. In Matth. iv. 4, the word "openly" is 
omitted in the old version, though the Greek text is, aVo&oo-et crot 
cv TUJ (pavepw. And v. 7, the old translator renders /uJ /Bctrro- 
\oyr](Tr}Te by nolite multum loqui. But fiarroXoyeiv means 
something different from much speaking. For Christ does not 
prohibit long prayers, but the tedious and hypocritical repetition 
of the same words. At v. 11, he hath rendered aprov eiriovcriov 
by panem super substantialem. And v. 25 in the Latin runs thus : 
Ne solliciti sitis animce vestrce quid manducetis. In the Greek, 
ri (payrjTe Kai T L Trirjre " What ye shall eat and what ye shall 
drink." At v. 32, in the Latin, Scit Pater vester : in the Greek, 
6 Ylarrjp V/ULWV o ovpdvtos. Chap. vii. 14, in the Latin, Quam 
angusta porta ! In the Greek, on arevrj r] irvXrj " For strait 
is the gate." Chap. ix. 8, timuerunt occurs in the Latin, instead 
of " they wondered," since the Greek hath eOavfjiacrav. Chap. ix. 
15, Filii sponsi for the "children of the bride-chamber," the 
Greek being o\ v\ol TOV vu,u(fHovo$. The same mistake recurs 
Luke v. 34. Chap. xiv. 3, the name of Philip is omitted in the 
Latin, though exhibited by the Greek copies. He was the brother 
of Herod, whose wife the impious Herod had united to himself in 
an incestuous union. Verse 21, the Latin reads, quinque millia ; 
in the Greek it is, wcrel TrevTaKicr^iXioi, " about five thousand." 
Verse 26, the word, " the disciples," is omitted : for in the Greek 
we have i&Wes avrov o\ jua^ra*, where the Latin gives only 
videntes eum. Chap. xv. 8, in the Latin, Populus hie labiis me 
konorat ; but in the Greek, eyyifyt fj.oi o Xaoe oJro? rw 


Kal roT? ^eiXccri /me Ttjua " This people drawcth nigh 
unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips." At 
v. 31 there is nothing to express " the maimed to be whole/ 
though the Greek hath KvXXovs vyiels. 

Chap. xvii. 19 : in the Latin, Quare nos non potuimus ejicere 
ilium ? instead of illud " it," that is, the demon ; for the Greek is, 
Kf3a\6^v avro. Chap, xviii., in the last verse, there is nothing 
in the Latin corresponding to TO. TrapaTTTw/maTa CIVTCOV, " their 
offences," in the Greek. Chap. xix. 7 stands thus in the Latin : 
Quid me interrogas de bono ? unus est bonus, Deus. But in most, 
and the most correct, Greek copies, we read, TI /me Xeyeis dyaQop; 
ov&cls dya9os, el M els, o 6eos* that is, " Why callest thou me 
good ? There is none good but one, God." Chap. xx. 9 : in the 
Latin, acceperunt singulos denarios, instead of " every man a 
penny;" for the Greek hath eXafiov a\>a Srjvapiov. And the 
like mistake is made again in the next verse. At verse 15, we 
have in the Latin, aut non licet mi quod volo facere ? instead of, 
" is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own ?" In 
the Greek, rj OVK e^caTi ,aoi Troirjorai o OeXw ev TO?S e/uol? ; Chap. 
xxi. 30: Eo, domine, is in the Latin instead of, "I, Sir," eyw, 
Kvpie. Chap. xxiv. 6 : Opiniones prceliorum, in the Latin, for 
" rumours of wars," a/coas TroXe/xw^. Chap. xxvi. 61 : Sia rpiwv 
riiuLepwv, which means, " in three days," is rendered in the old 
version post triduum ; and v. 71, the Latin hath exeunte illo 
januam, instead of, " when he went out into the vestibule," since 
the Greek is e^eXOovra 619 TOV TrvXtova. Chap, xxviii. 2, in the 
Latin, after the words revolvit lapidem, there is an omission of 
" from the door,"" diro 0vpas. 

Mark ii. 7, the Latin reads : Quid hie sic loquitur ? blas- 
phemat; instead of, " Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies?" 
Tt ovro<s ovro) XaXel /BXao-^^/u/a? ; 

Mark iii. 39, in the Latin, Reus erit ceterni delicti, instead 
of "eternal judgment," alwviov Kpia-ecos. Mark xiv. 14, in the 
Latin there is, Ubi est refectio mea ? instead of, " Where is the 
guest-chamber ?" TTOV ecrri TO KaTaXv/ma ; 

Luke i. 28 in the Latin runs thus, Ave, gratia plena ; but 
K&)(aptTWf*.vij is " highly favoured " or " freely loved," not " full 
of grace." Luke ii. 40, the Latin hath, puer crescebat et con- 
fortabatur, wherein " in spirit" is left out 1 . Luke iii. 13, in the 
Latin, nihil amplius, quam quod constitutum est vobis, faciatis. 
is omitted in some Greek MSS. also. See Grotius in loc.] 


But in this place vrpdcro-etv does not mean " to do," but " to ex 
act ;" for it is the publicans that the Baptist here addresses. Luke 
vi. 11, in the Latin, ipsi repleti sunt insipientia, instead of, " with 
madness ;" 7r\tjcr6r]crav avolas. Luke xi. 53, the old translator 
renders, airo<jTonaTi(eii> O.VTOV CTTI TrXeiovwv by, os ejus opprimere 
de multis ; absurdly, since it means that they pressed him to 
speak of many things 1 . Luke xiii. 3, 4, runs thus in the Latin, 
nisi poenitentiam habueritis, omnes similiter peribitis : sicut illi 
decem et octo, instead of, " or those eighteen," &c. Luke xv. 8, 
Evertit domum, instead of everrit, " she sweeps ;" crapoi rr\v oiKiav. 
A shameful and manifest error, which the Louvain editors perceived, 
but would not correct ; I suppose on account of its antiquity, for 
thus hath the place been constantly read in their churches for 
many ages. The Ordinary Gloss interprets this woman to mean 
the church, who then turns her house upside down when she 
disturbs men s consciences with the conviction . of their guilt. 
But Dionysius Carthusianus hath a somewhat better explanation 
of the way in which the house is turned upside down, that is, 
when the contents of the house are carried about from one place 
to another, as people are wont to do when they search diligently 
for any thing. Nay, what surprises one still more, Gregory of 
Home, a thousand years ago, read and expounded evertit domum, 
Horn. 34 in Evangel. : so ancient are many of the errors of this 
translation. In the same chapter, verse 14, we have postquam 
omnia consummasset, instead of consumpsisset, SairavrjcravTos. 
Chap. xvi. 22 is read thus in the Latin, Sepidtus est in inferno. 
Elevans autem ocnlos, fyc. Whereupon some Latin doctors and 
interpreters run out into many philosophical speculations concerning 
the burial of the rich man in hell, which are all derived from the 
erroneous version of the place. For it ought to have been read, as 
it is read with great unanimity by the Greek copies, " The rich 
man also died, and was buried :" where Euthymius justly observes, 
that mention of the burial was made in the case of the rich, and not 
of the poor man ; because the poor man had a mean grave, whereas 
the funeral of the rich man was performed with splendour and 
magnificence. Then in the text a new sentence begins, " And in 
hell raising up his eyes," &c. Chap. xix. last verse, Omnis 

[i a7roo-To/jcmVii> rather means to require one to speak off-hand and 
without premeditation. The reader will find all the learning of the ques 
tion, as to the sense of this word, in Grotius upon Luke xi. 53, and Runkhen s 
note upon the word in Timseus Lex. Platon.J 


populus susjiensus erat, audiens ilium, instead of, " All the people 
hung upon him while they heard him." o Xctos aVas e^eKpefjctro 

John, chap. v. 16, after the words, persequebantur Judcei 
Jesum, the clause, " and desired to slay him," KCII e^Tovv CLVTOV 
aTTOKTelvat, is left out. Chap. xii. 35 : Adhuc modicum lumen in 
vobis, for, " yet a little while is the light with you," en viKpov 
~povov TO (pws /me#* vfjiwv eo-Ti. Chap. xxi. 22 : Sic eum volo 
manere donee veniam. Quid ad te ? Whence some, deceived 
by the error of this version, have supposed John to be still alive. 
But we ought to read, " If I will that he tarry till I come, what 
is that to thee ?" In the Greek, em> avrov 9e\w i^eveiv ecos e/X~ 
/mat, ri TTjOos ere ; 

Acts ii. 42 : Et communication fractionis panis, for, " in 
communion and breaking of bread," mi Trj Koivwviq. KOI rrj 
K\a<rei TOV aprov. And at the last verse, in idipsum 2 , for, "the 
church," rrj e/c/cXr/tnV Chap. iii. 18 : Qui prcenunciavit, for, 
" which things he foretold," a TrpoKariiyyeiXe. Chap. x. 30 : 
Usque ad hanc horam, orans eram hora nona, instead of, "I 
was fasting until this hour, and at the ninth hour I was pray 
ing :" ju.e%pt Taurus TJ}? wpas rjfjLrjv vricrTevduir 3 , Kal TYJV evvarrjv 
wpav 7TjOocrey^O|uiei/o9. Also at the close of verse 32, these 
words, " who when he is come shall speak to thee," 09 Trapaye- 
vofjievos \a\rja-ei croc, are omitted. Chap. xii. 8 : Calcea te caligas 
tuas, for, "bind on thy sandals," vwo^rjorat TO. o-avSaXtd aou. 
Chap. xvi. 13 : Ubi videbatur oratio esse, for, " where prayer 
was wont to be made," ov eVo^^ero Trpoaev^ elvai. Chap, xviii. 
5 : Instabat verbo Paulus, for, " Paul was bound in the spirit," 
GvveLyeTo TCO Trvev/uLan. In the same chapter at verse 16, 
Minavit eos a tribunali, for, "he drave them from the judgment- 
seat," aTrrjXaaev. And at verse 21, this clause is omitted, " I 
must by all means keep this feast which cometh on in Jerusalem 4 :" 
AeT jue 7rai/Ta>s Tqv eopTrjv rrjv ep^ofjievtjv Tcoir\(jai et? le^oocro- 
Ayjua. Chap, xix., in the last verse : Cum nullus obnoxius sit, for, 
" since there is no cause," /urj^evos airiov VTrdp^ovTos. Chap, 
xxii. 12: Vir secundum legem, for, *"a pious man according to 

[ 2 The mistake arose from connecting the words eVi ro dvrb, which form 
the commencement of the next chapter, with the close of this one. The 
Ethiopic agrees with the Vulgate in omitting rfj eKK\r)<rta.] 
[ 3 Some MSS. agree with the Vulgate in omitting 
[ 4 It is omitted in the Alex, and several other MSS.] 


the law," avrjp evvefiw. Chap. xxiv. 14 : Quod secundum sec- 
tarn, quam dicunt hceresin, sic deservio Patri Deo meo, instead 
of, " that according to the way which they call heresy, so worship 
I the God of my fathers :" OTL KCLTO. Ttjv ocV, fjv \eyovviv 
cLipeaiv, ouTO) \aTpeva) TM TrctTpwo) Oeu>. Chap, xxvii. 42 : Ut 

custodias occiderent, for, "that they should slay the prisoners 1 ," 

e/ t ft / i 


Eom. ii. 3 : Quod judicas, instead of, " thou that judgest," 
o KpivMv. Chap. v. 6 : Ut quid enim Christus, cum adhuc 
infirmi essemus, fyc., instead of, " for Christ, when we were yet 
without strength," CTI yap Xptcrro? OVTWI r]^wv aaBevwv. And 
verse 13 : Peccatum non imputabatur? cum lex non esset, for, 
" sin is not imputed where there is no law," a/uLapTia OVK eXXo- 
ye~iTai HJLY} (Wo? vonov. Chap. vii. 25 : Quis me liberabit de 
corpore mortis hujus ? Gratia Dei per Jesum Christum, for, 
" I thank God through Jesus Christ," ev-^apiaTO} TW Bew Sia 
Itjcrou XpicrTov. Chap. viii. 18 : Existimo quod non sunt dignw 
passiones, #c., for, " I reckon for certain," ^oyi^ofjLat. Chap. xii. 
19: Non vosmet ipsos defendentes, instead of, "avenging," 
K$IKOVVTS. Chap. xiii. 1 : Quce autem sunt a Deo, ordinata 
sunt 2 , for, "the powers that be, are ordained of God," a\ e 
ovcrai efovcriai, VTTO TOV 0eoi} TeTa.yfj.evai eicriv. Chap. xiv. 5 : 
Unusquisque in suo sensu abundet, for, "let each be fully per 
suaded in his own mind," e/cacrro? ev TW iSiw vo*i f n-\rjpo<popei<jOa}. 
And at verse 6 is omitted, " and he that regardeth not the day, to 
the Lord he doth not regard it," KOI o fi^ (ppovcov TYJV rj^epav 
Kvpiw ou (ppovel. Chap. xvi. 23 : Salutat vos Gains hospes 
meus, et universa ecclesia, for, " and of the whole church," 
KCLI Trjs eK/cXjycrm? oX>/9. 

1 Cor. iii. 5 : Ministri ejus cui credidistis, for, " ministers by 
whom ye believed," SiaKovoi Si uv eTria-TevcrctTe. Verse 9 : Dei 
adjutores, instead of, "administrators or co-operators, crvvepyoi. 
Chapter vi. last verse : In corpore vestro, omitting 3 , " and in your 
spirit, which are God s," KCU ev Tip irvev^aTi VJULWV, CLTLVCL earTt 
TOV Qeov. Chapter ix. 22 : Ut omnes salvos faciam, for, " that 

[ l Instances however are found in good authors of Custodia meaning a 
prisoner as well as a guard. I need not cite instances of a meaning given 
in every common dictionary.] 

[ 2 The fault is in the stopping. It should be, " Quse autem sunt, a Deo 
ordinatse sunt."] 

[ 3 This clause is omitted also in the Alexandrian and several other MSS.] 


I may by all means save some," iva TrdvrcosTtvds crco creu 4 . Chap. 
xv. 23 : Delude ii qui sunt Christi, qui in adventum ejus credi- 
derunt, for, "then those who are Christ s at his coming," eTretra 
vl XpicTTov ev Trj Trapovaia CIVTOV. Verse 34 : Ad reverentiam 
vobis loquor, for, " I speak to inspire you with shame," 717)09 
evrpoirriv vjuuv Xeyw. Verse 51 : Omnes quidem resurgemus, 
sed non omnes immutabimur, instead of, " We shall not indeed all 
sleep, but we shall all be changed," Wvrey nev ou ffot/utydtycro/uefta, 
Trdvres $e d\\ayrj(j6fjLeOa 5 . Verse 54, there is omitted, " when 
this corruptible shall have put on incorruption," orav TO (f)9aprov 
TOUTO ei^ucrrjrai d(p9apcriav. Verse 55 : Ubi est mors stimulus 
tuus ? for, " Where is thy victory, grave or hell?" TTOU o~ou acrj 

2 Cor. i. 11: Ut ex multarum personis facierum ejus quce in 
nobis donationis, per multos gratice agantur pro nobis. The 
words in the Greek are, r iva e/c TroXXwi^ Trpoawn-wv TO ets rjnas 
^dptcrima Sid iroXXwv cv^apiffTrjOri vwep j/juwi/ that is, "that the 
gift conferred upon us by many persons may be celebrated by 
many in returning thanks on our account." Chapter vii. 8 : Non 
me pcenitet etsi pwniteret, instead of, "I do not repent, though I 
did repent," ou yuerayue Xo/xcu, et /ecu //ere/xeAo^i . Chapter ix. 1 : 
Ex abundanti est mi scribere, for, "it is superfluous," Trepitjaov 
pot eari. Chap. xii. 11 : Factus sum insipiens, omitting the next 
word " in boasting," KO.V ^o/uei o?. 

Gal. iii. 24 ; Lex pcedagogus noster fait in Christo, for " to 
Christ," et9 Xpia-Tov. Chap. iv. 18 : Bonum cemulamini in bono 
semper, for, " it is good to be zealously affected always in a good 
thing ;" KctXoV TO fyjXovcrOai ev KCL\M irdvTore* At the end of 
this chapter the words, Qua libertate Christus nos liberavit, should 
be joined with the commencement of the next chapter. " In the 
liberty, wherewith Christ hath made us free, stand fast :" T^ 
eXeuOepiq, f] Xpio~Tos rna<$ tjXevOepcoare o-TijKere. 

Eph. i. 22, Super omnem ecclesiam, instead of, " over all 
things to the church," v-jrep irdvra Trj eKKXrjcriqi. Chap. ii. 10 : 
Creati in Christo Jesu in operibus bonis f for, " to good works, eirl 

[ 4 Several MSS. read TTUVTUS for Travr^s rivas, and Mill was disposed to 
think it the true reading.] 

[ 5 There is here considerable difference in the MSS. The Clermont 
reads with the Vulgate. Lachmann s text gives navrts [/i/] Koi/iT/^o-o/ze&z, 
oi iravTfs Se aXXayj/cro/xe^a, following the Alexandrian MS. though not 


epyols ayaOdis. Chap. v. 4, Quce ad rem non pertinent, for, 
" which are not convenient :" ra /ur; dv^Kovra. 

Col. ii. 14 : Chirographum decreti, for, " contained in ordi 
nances," ToTs coyfjiaaiv. 

2 Thess. ii. 13: legit nos Dominus primitias 1 in salutem, 
instead of, " from the beginning," aw ap^r}?. 

1 Tim. vi. 5 : It omits, " withdraw from those that are such 2 ," 
a(pi<TTa<jo CCTTO TWV TOIOVTCOV. 2 Tim. ii. 4 : Ut ei placeat, cui 
se probavit, for, " that he may please him who hath chosen him 
to be a soldier:" "iva rw crTpaToKoyricravTi apeo-rj* 

Philem. 9 : Cum sis talis ut Paulus senex, instead of, " since 
I am such an one as Paul the aged." 

Heb. i. 3 : Purgationem peccatorum faciens, omitting the 
words, " by himself," Si eavrov 3 . Heb. iii. 3 : Quanta ampliorem 
honor em habet domus*, for, "as he that built it hath more honour 
than the house," &c. Heb. xii. 8 : Ergo adulteri 5 et non filii 
estis, for "bastards and spurious, not sons:" apa voOoi ecrre, KO.I 
ov-% VIOL. In the same chapter, verse 18, accessibilem 6 ignem, for, 
"inflamed with fire," /ce/caf/xe^ TrupL 

James i. 19: Scitis,fratres mei dilectissimi, instead of, "Where 
fore, my beloved brethren," wcrre 7 , dSe\<poi /mow ayctTrrjToi. 

1 Pet. ii. 5 : Supercedificamini domos spirituales, for, " a 
spiritual house," ol/cos TrvevjjLaTiKos. Ibid, verse 23: Tradebat 
autem judicanti se injuste, for, <c that judgeth righteously," TW 
KpLvovn Sticaiws. 1 Pet. iv. 14, it leaves out, " on their part he is 
blasphemed, but on your part he is glorified 8 :" /cara /uei> aJroi)? 
/3\aor(p^fJLiTai 9 fcara oe J//.a? oo^a^erai. 

2 Pet. i. 3 : Quomodo omnia nobis divince virtutis suce, quce 

[! The Vulgate translator seems to have read aTrapx^v, (which is still 
exhibited by some Greek MSS.) unless, indeed, primitias be itself a corrup 
tion of primitus.] 

[ 2 The clause is also omitted by the Alexandrian, Clermont, and other 
ancient MSS., and by the Ethiopic and Coptic versions.] 

[ 3 They are omitted in the Alex, and Vatican MSS., and several others.] 

[ 4 But domus is here in the genitive, being governed of ampliorem, to 
correspond, barbarously enough, with the Greek construction.] 

[ 5 But adulter is used adjectively in the sense of adulterinus, by Pliny, 
N. H. L. 33. c. 7.] 

[ 6 Here we should read " accensibilem," the translator taking 
to agree with nvpl, as ^Xa^co/teVo) does with S pei. See Grotius in loc.] 

[ 7 The Alex., Vatican, and some other MSS. read iVre.] 

[ 8 It is omitted in the Alex, and some other MSS.] 


ad vitam et pietatem, donata sunt, for, " forasmuch as his divine 
power hath given us all things that are needful for life and 
godliness :" MS irdvTa. q/jiiv Trjs Oeias Suvdfjiews CIVTOV TO. Trpos 
fyriv KOI evaefieiav SeSwprjiJLevw 9 : verse 16, indoctas fabulas se- 
quuti, for " learned," crea-o0i<7/uei/ots nvOois <aKo\ou0qcravTes 9 and 
in the same verse, Christi virtutem et prcescientiam for, " the 
power and presence," ^vva/miv KOI vrapovcriav. 2 Pet. ii. 8 : Aspectu 
enim et auditu Justus erat, habitans apud eos, qui de die in diem 
animam justam iniquis operibus excruciabant ; instead of, " for in 
seeing and hearing that righteous man, dwelling amongst them, 
vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unrighteous 
deeds :" fi\e[JL/u.aTi yap Kctl aicofj 6 $//ca/os, eyKarotKwv ev ctvrois, 
riimepav ef Yj^epas ^v^v Sutaiav di/o/uioi epyow efiaadvi^ev. 

1 John v. 17 : Et est peccatum ad mortem, for, "and there is 
a sin not unto death;" KCU eorTiv a/mapTia ov Trpos QCLVCLTOV^. 
3 John, 4. Majorem horum non habeo gratiam, for, " I have 
no joy greater than these," mei(oTpav TOVTWV OUK e-^co -^apdv 11 . 

Jude, 5 : Scientes semel omnia, for, " since ye know this once," 
el^oras dwa^ Tovro 12 . Rev. ii. 14: edere et fornicari, for, "to eat 
those things which are sacrificed to idols, and to commit whore 
dom :" (hayeiv etca)Ao$yra, /cat Tropveixjai, 

I have selected a few instances from many. Were I to pursue 
them all, I should make a volume. But these sufficiently prove the 
infinite and inveterate faultiness of the old Latin Version in the new 
Testament. Erasmus, therefore, when he desired a review of the 
new Testament, preferred translating it anew according to the Greek 
verity to spending his pains in correcting this old Latin edition. 
In like manner, Isidore Clarius of Brescia 13 bemoans the wretched 
and squalid plight of this edition in both Testaments, and wonders 
at the negligence of learned men, who have never attempted to 
remove the innumerable errors, under which he affirms it to labour, 
adding that he hath himself noted and amended eight thousand 
passages 14 . 

Such is that edition, even by their own confession, which we 

[ 9 A couple of unimportant MS S. read here forSoop^eVa with the Vulgate.] 
[ 10 The ov is also omitted in the Ethiopia.] 
[ n Some MSS. here read x<*P tv with the Vulgate.] 
[ 12 The Alex, and other most ancient MSS. here read iravTa with the Vul 
gate. The Syriac appears to have read Trdvres.] 

[ 13 In the preface to his edition of the Vulgate, Venice 1542.] 

[ 14 Etsi ea quam diximus usi fuerirnus moderatione, loca tainen ad octo 


are now forsooth, at the pleasure of the Tridentine Fathers, com 
manded to receive as authentic scripture. But let them take to 
themselves this old edition of theirs, while we, as the course to 
which reason constrains us, and Augustine, Jerome, and other illus 
trious divines persuade us, and even the ancient decrees of the 
Roman pontiffs themselves admonish us, return to the sacred origi 
nals of scripture. 



WE have now completed the first part of this second question, 
wherein we have proved that the authentic scripture lies not in the 
Latin version of the old translator, as the Tridentine fathers and 
the Jesuits would have it, but in the Hebrew and Greek originals. 
We have obviated the arguments of our opponents, and confirmed 
our own opinion. Now follows the second part of this question, 
which hath two principal divisions. For we must, in the first place, 
discuss vernacular versions of the scripture ; and, in the second 
place, the performance of divine service in the vulgar tongue. 
Upon both subjects there are controversies between us. 

Now, as to vernacular versions of scripture, we must first of all 
inquire what is the certain and fixed opinion of the papists there 
upon. Concerning vernacular versions of scripture there are at the 
present day three opinions entertained by men. The first, of those 
who absolutely deny that the scriptures should be translated into 
the vulgar tongue. 

The second, the opposite of the former, is the opinion of those 
who think that the holy scriptures should by all means be translated 
into the vulgar tongues of all people. 

The third is the opinion of those who neither absolutely con 
demn, nor absolutely permit, vernacular versions of the scriptures, 
but wish that in this matter certain exceptions should be made, 
and regard had to times, places, and persons. This last is the 

millia annotata atque emendata a nobis sunt. Of these " octo millia," Walton, 
by what Hody calls " ingens memorise lapsus," has made octoginta millia erro- 
rum. Proleg. . 10. (T. n. p. 250. Wrangham.)] 


opinion held by the papists, and the judgment ratified at Trent. 
They do not then seem to affirm that it is simply impious or un 
lawful to translate the scriptures, or read them in the vulgar 
tongue ; but they do not choose that this should be done com 
monly or promiscuously by all, or under any other conditions than 
those which the council hath prescribed. 

There is extant concerning this matter a decree, in the fourth 
rule of the index of prohibited books published by Pius IV., and 
approved by the council of Trent ; which determination contains 
four parts : first, that no man may read the scriptures in the vul 
gar tongue, unless he have obtained permission from the bishops 
and inquisitors : secondly, that the bishops should consult with the 
parish priest and confessor : thirdly, that the bishops themselves 
must not permit every kind of vernacular versions, but only those 
published by some catholic author : fourthly, that the reading even 
of these must not be permitted to every one, but only to those 
who, in the judgment of their curates and confessors, are likely to 
receive no damage therefrom, but rather an augmentation of faith, 
those, that is, and those only, who they hope will be rendered 
thereby still more perverse and obstinate. Such are the subtle 
cautions of that decree ; whence it is evident that the reading of 
the scriptures in the vulgar tongue is allowed to as small a number 
of persons as possible. They subjoin to this a reason which looks 
plausible at first sight ; that it hath appeared by experience that, 
if the Bible were allowed to be read by all, without distinction, 
more injury than advantage would result, on account of the rash 
ness of mankind. The force of this argument we shall examine in 
its proper place. 

Our Rhemish brethren are profuse of words in praising this 
decree, in the preface to their English version of the new Tes 
tament. " Holy church," they say, " knowing by her divine and 
most sincere wisedom, how, where, when, and to whom, these her 
maisters and spouses gifts are to be bestowed to the most good of 
the faithful ; and therefore, neither generally permitteth that 
which must needs doe hurt to the unworthy, nor absolutely con- 
demneth that which may do much good to the worthie 1 :" and so 
they conclude that the scriptures, although translated truly and in 
accordance with the catholic faith, must not be read by every one 
who has a mind to read them, but only by those who are specially 
and by name licensed by their ordinaries, and whom their curates 
[ l Preface to the Reader, p. 4. Ithemes. 1582.] 



and confessors have testified and declared to be fit and proper 
readers of the same. Now then, you sufficiently perceive that all 
men are excluded from the perusal of the scriptures in the vulgar 
tongues, save those who shall have procured a licence to read them ; 
and such a licence none can procure, but those who are certainly 
known, by confession, and the whole course of their lives, to be 
obstinate papists. Those, therefore, who might desire to read the 
scriptures in order that they might learn from the scriptures the 
true faith and religion, these, unless they first swear an absolute 
obedience to the Roman pontiff, are by no means permitted to get 
a glimpse of the sacred books of scripture. Who does not see that 
the scriptures are taken from the people, in order that they may 
be kept in darkness and ignorance, and that so provision may be 
made for the safety of the Roman church and the papal sovereignty, 
which could never hold its ground if the people were permitted to 
read the scriptures ? Wretched indeed is that religion, and 
desperate that state of things, where they are compelled to with 
draw the scriptures from the eyes of men, and take off the people 
from the reading of the scriptures ; which is the course pursued 
by our adversaries, as is manifest from the decree of the Tridentine 
council, and from the versions of the Khemists. Such is also the 
opinion of Bellarmine, Lib. n. c. 15. To which let me subjoin the 
testimony of Johannes Molanus, a divine of Louvain, and censor of 
books to both the pope and the king ; who hath these words, in 
his book of Practical Theology, Tract, in. c. 27 : " Yet we deny 
that the study of the scriptures is required of them [laymen] ; yea, 
we affirm that they are safely debarred the reading of the scrip 
tures, and that it is sufficient for them to govern the tenor of their 
life by the directions of the pastors and doctors of the church 1 ;" 
than which nothing could be said more shocking to common sense 
and decency. Similar to this is the opinion of Hosius, in his small 
piece upon divine service in the vulgar tongue, and that of the 
censors of Cologne against the preface of Monhemius. Sanders 
too, in the seventh book of his Monarchia visibilis, says that it 
is heretical to affirm that the scriptures ought necessarily to be 
translated into the vulgar languages. 

Such then is the determination of our adversaries. We, on the 

[* Negamus tamen ab eis requiri studium scripturarum : imo salubriter 
dicimus eos a lectione scripturarum arceri, sufficereque eis, ut ex prsescripto 
pastorum et doctorum ecclesise yitse ciirsum moderentur. p. 105. 2. Colon. 



contrary, affirm that the reading of the scriptures should be com 
mon to all men, and that none, however unlearned, should be 
debarred or deterred from reading them, but rather that all should 
be stirred up to the frequent and diligent perusal of them ; and 
that, not only when the privilege of reading them is permitted by 
their prelates, but also although their ordinaries and confessors 
should prohibit it never so much. 

Accordingly we say that the scriptures should be translated 
into all the languages of Christendom, that all men may be enabled 
to read them in their own tongue. This is declared by the confes 
sion of all the churches. This is true ; and this we shall shew to be 
agreeable to the scriptures. The state of the question, therefore, 
is, whether or not vernacular versions of the scriptures are to be 
set forth and permitted to all promiscuously. They hold the nega 
tive, we the affirmative ; and we must first examine and refute 
their arguments, and then apply ourselves to the support of our 
own cause. Our attention shall be principally directed to our 
Jesuit Bellarmine. 



THE first argument of the Jesuit, whereby he proves vernacu 
lar versions by no means necessary, is drawn from the practice of 
the church under the old Testament, from the time of Ezra until 
Christ. He affirms, that from the times of Ezra the Hebrew 
language ceased to be the vulgar tongue amongst the people of 
God, and yet that the scriptures were in the church in Hebrew 
after those times. But how does he prove that the Hebrew 
language was then unknown to the people? Because, says he, 
the Jews who dwelt in Babylon forgot their own language, and 
learned the Chaldee, and thenceforward the Chaldee or Syriac 
became their mother tongue. It remains that we listen to the tes 
timonies by which all these statements are substantiated. 

The first is taken from the old Testament, Nehem. viii. : where 
we read that Nehemiah, and Ezra, and the Levites read the book 

14 2 


of the law to the people, and gave the interpretation, because the 
people understood nothing of what was read to them ; but upon 
Ezra s supplying the interpretation the people were greatly rejoiced, 
because they then understood the words of the law. 

I answer, in the first place, that the Jesuit hath grossly abused 
that place in Nehemiah. For it is clear from the passage itself, 
that the people did understand correctly enough the words which 
were read to them ; whence it follows that the language was not 
unknown to them. At verse 3, Ezra is said to have brought the 
book of the law, and to have read in the presence of a multitude of 
men and women, and as many as were capable of understanding, 
that is, who were old enough to understand anything, or, as the 
Hebrew expression is, who heard intelligently 1 . Therefore they 
not only heard, but heard intelligently, that is, understood what 
they heard. Hence, in verse 4, Ezra is said to have read before 
the men and women, and those who understood ; and the people to 
have had their ears attentive to the book of the law. Now, why 
should the people have listened so attentively, if they did not un 
derstand what they heard? In the same place, Ezra is related to 
have read out of the book from morning until evening ; and, in 
verse 19, every day for seven days, from the first day until the 
last. Assuredly, he would not have taken so much trouble in read 
ing, unless he had auditors who could understand him ; and it was 
certainly very far from a prophets wisdom to assemble a multitude 
of persons, then come forth into the midst of them, open the book, 
and read so earnestly, and for the space of so many hours, what 
the people could not at all understand. Besides, what was the rea 
son of his reading (v. 9*) plainly, as Tremellius, or distinctly, as 
the old translator renders it, but that, by that plain reading of the 
scripture, the whole people might the better understand what was 
being read to them ? For it is no matter whether you read well 
or ill to those who understand nothing of what is read. 

But Bellarmine objects that great joy was excited in the peo 
ple, when by Ezra s interpretation they came to understand the 
words of the law. What a subtle Jesuit ! He feigns that Ezra 
first read to the people words which they did not understand, and 
afterwards rendered or translated them into other words, and that 
language with which the people were acquainted ; which is alto- 

[ 2 ver. 8. in the Hebrew. The word is ttHSD .] 


gether absurd. For Ezra read the words of the law openly and 
publicly from a pulpit, and continued that reading through the 
space of some hours, then expounded the scripture which had been 
read, and opened up the sense and meaning of the words to the 
people. For so at verse 9, the Levites are said "to have ex 
pounded the sense, and given the meaning by the scripture itself," 
as Tremellius hath most correctly interpreted the passage. Vata- 
blus hath translated it thus, " explaining the sense, and teaching 
as they read 3 ;" which is not very different. And the old trans 
lator thus, " Plainly that it might be understood ; and they under 
stood when it was read 4 ;" which sufficiently proves that the people 
understood what was read to them. Ezra was therefore said to be 
skilful in the law, not because he could read and understand the 
words and text of the law, but because he explained the sense and 
meaning of the law, so as to enable the people to understand it. 
And hence sprang that gladness, which the scripture tells us that 
the people felt when they heard the law expounded by Ezra. 
The thing is plain and certain, nor do we need the aid of com 

The other testimony which the Jesuit uses in this matter, to 
prove that Hebrew was not the vulgar tongue of the Jews after 
Ezra, is drawn from the new Testament, from which it appears 
that the people used the Syriac language. For Talitha cumi, 
Mark v., Abba, Mark xiv., Aceldama, Acts i., and Matth xxvii. 
Golgotha and Pascha, are neither Greek nor Hebrew. More ex 
amples are given by Jerome in his book, de Nominib. Hebr. The 
same fact is indicated by the saying, John vii., " This multitude 
which knoweth not the law." Hence it is manifest that the Hebrew 
was not at that time the mother tongue of the Jews. 

I answer, in the first place, that this may, to some extent, be 
allowed true, but that, in the sense in which Bellarmine affirms it, 
it is altogether false. I acknowledge that the language was not 
pure Hebrew, but corrupted with many alien and foreign terms, so 
as to become, as it were, a new dialect compounded of Hebrew and 
Chaldee. Yet, in the meanwhile, the people had not forgotten the 
Hebrew language, neither immediately after the captivity, nor in 
the succeeding times. For, Nehem. xiii., certain Jews are said 
to have married wives of Ashdod, whose children spake in the 
language of Ashdod, and not in Hebrew. The people in general 

[ 3 Explicantes sententiam et erudientes inter legendum.] 
[ 4 Aperte ad intelligendum ; et intellexerunt cum legeretur.] 


therefore spoke Hebrew. Indeed it is impossible that, in the space 
of seventy or even one hundred years, the people should so wholly 
lose their native language as not even to understand it. If this 
had been the case, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi, prophets 
who lived after the return would not have published their dis 
courses in Hebrew, but in the vulgar tongue. It is, therefore, 
absolutely certain, that the Jews understood Hebrew after the times 
of Ezra. 

Secondly, as to the terms which are not pure Hebrew in the 
new Testament, the thing proved comes merely to what I have 
observed already, that the language of the people had, at that 
time, greatly degenerated from its native integrity ; yet not to 
such a degree as would be inconsistent with supposing that Hebrew 
was spoken by the better educated, and understood by all ; so as 
that the scriptures, when publicly read in Hebrew, might be 
understood by the people. Christ, therefore, John v. 39, bids 
even the laity " search the scriptures." Greek they did not 
understand ; and the Chaldee paraphrase was not then published, 
or, if published, was unintelligible to them. It was the Hebrew 
scriptures, therefore, which Christ commanded them to read ; which 
command he never would have issued, if the people could not 
understand the scriptures in the Hebrew language. The Jews 
of Berea, also, of whom we have an account, Acts xvii. 11, searched 
the scriptures diligently. So Christ read the prophet Isaiah in 
the synagogue, as we find in Luke iv. 18 ; and no one doubts 
that he read it in Hebrew. So Acts xv. 21, James says, that 
" Moses of old times hath in every city them that preach him, 
being read in the synagogues every sabbath-day." Whence also 
it is plain, that avayivu>GKeiv and Krjpva-creiv are different things. 
And, Acts xiii. 15, "after the reading of the law and the prophets," 
Paul was desired to address the people if it seemed fit to him. 
What end could it serve to read the scriptures so diligently in the 
synagogues, and that the people should assemble every sabbath-day 
to hear them read, if they were read in an unknown language ? 
The title which Pilate affixed to the cross was inscribed with 
Hebrew words, and many of the Jews read it, John xix. 20. And 
Paul, Acts xxvi. 14, says that he heard Christ speaking to him " in 
the Hebrew tongue." He himself also addressed the people in the 
Hebrew tongue, Acts xxi. 40. And (chap. xxii. at the commence 
ment) when they heard him speaking to them in the Hebrew 
tongue, they kept the rather quiet, and rendered him still greater 


attention. Theophylact observes upon that place, opqs TTWS avrovs 
el\ TO o[jioio<pcovov ; el-^ov yap TIVOL aicw Trpos TTJV yXwTTav 
Kivr]i> 1 , as much as to say, that they were caught by perceiving 
his language to be the same as their own, and by a certain reve 
rence which they entertained for that tongue. I produce these 
testimonies not to prove this language to have been pure Hebrew ; 
but to shew that it was not altogether different from the Hebrew, 
since it is called Hebrew, and was understood by the people. Now 
it could not be called Hebrew, if those who used it were not even 
able to understand Hebrew. Although, therefore, it was full of 
foreign mixtures, which the people had brought with them from 
Babylon, or contracted from the neighbouring nations ; yet it re 
tained a great deal of its native genius, enough to enable the 
people, though they could not speak Hebrew as purely as in 
former times, to recognise and understand the scriptures when read 
to them in Hebrew. The difference is not so great as to prevent 
this. For, although the dialect of the Scots and English, nay, of 
the southern and northern English themselves, is not the same ; yet 
the Scots read the English version of the scriptures in their 
churches, and the people understand it. Thus the Jews, though 
they did not speak pure Hebrew, as the Scots do not speak pure 
English, could yet understand the scriptures when read to them 
in Hebrew by their priests and Levites. Thus the bystanders 
could sufficiently understand Peter, although they knew him to be 
a Galilean by his manner of speaking. Matth. xxvi. 73. Formerly 
the Greek language had various dialects, the Ionic, the Doric, and 
the rest ; yet all Greeks were able to understand each other. 

Thirdly, the Jesuit hath shamefully perverted the testimony 
from John vii. 49 : " This multitude which knoweth not the law." 
For the saying is to be understood not of the language, words, and 
letters, but of the sense and meaning of the law. The Pharisees arro 
gated to themselves a most exact knowledge of the law, and, puffed 
up with that conceit, thus proudly despised the common people. 

Now as to the assumption, that the scriptures were at that 
time read in Hebrew in the synagogues, I acknowledge it to be 
true. Why should they not have been read in Hebrew, when the 
people understood them in that language ? Bellarmine ought to 
have proved that the people could not understand the Hebrew 
language ; and then he would have done something to the purpose. 
But there are no proofs to demonstrate that assertion, which hath 
t 1 Opp. T. m. p. 160. Vcnet. 1758.] 


been already refuted by many arguments. For as to the objection 
urged in the epitome of Bellarmine s lectures, that when Christ 
exclaimed, JEli, Eli, lama sabachthani, some said that he called for 
Elias, because they did not understand the language in which he 
spoke, I reply, that it may be either that they mocked him 
maliciously, or had not perfectly heard the words, or were soldiers 
who were generally foreigners and Romans ; which latter sup 
position is rendered probable by the circumstance that, whereas 
Luke tells us that " the soldiers gave him vinegar to drink," chap, 
xxiii. 36 ; Matthew writes, that one of those who said this hastily 
filled a sponge with vinegar, and presented it to Christ, chap, xxvii. 
48. Jerome explains it otherwise, supposing that the Jews, in 
their usual manner, seized upon the occasion of maligning the Lord, 
as if he implored the assistance of Elias through inability to defend 
and deliver himself. Nothing, therefore, can be elicited from this 
passage, to prove that the people did not understand the Hebrew 

The second argument is taken from the example and practice 
of the apostles. For the apostles preached the gospel through the 
whole world, and founded churches, as is plain from Rom. x., Col. i., 
Mark xvi., Irena3us, Lib. i. c. 3 1 , who says, that in his time 
churches were founded in the East, in Libya, in Egypt, in Spain, 
in Germany, in Gaul ; and yet the apostles did not write the 
gospels or their epistles in the languages of those people to which 
they preached, but only in Hebrew or Greek. This argument is 
borrowed by Bellarmine from Sanders, de visibil. Monarch. 
Lib. vir. 

I answer, in the first place : the church could for some time do 
without vernacular versions, just as for some time it could do 
without the scriptures of the new Testament ; for everything was 
not immediately committed to writing. Meanwhile, however, the 
principal heads of the doctrine of the gospel were explained to all, 
and set forth in that language which they understood ; and then 
all necessary matters were committed to writing. 

Secondly, I confess the apostles and evangelists did not write 
the gospel in as many various languages as they preached it in, by 
word of mouth ; for that would have been an infinite labour : it was 
enough that they left this doctrine of the gospel written in one 

[ Ovre at (v Tcppaviais i8pv/j.evai KK\r)(riai ovre fv TCUS 

ovre fv KeXroIy, ovre Kara ras ai/aroAay, oi/re V AiyuTrrw, ovre eV 
p. 52, B.j 


language, from which it might easily be drawn and derived into all 
other tongues. 

Thirdly, they wrote in that language which was the most 
common, and understood by the greatest number of people, and out 
of which the scriptures might with most facility be rendered and 
translated into other tongues, that is, in the Greek ; which, although 
it was not the mother tongue and native language of all, yet was to 
most by no means an unknown tongue. For all those nations, whom 
Irengeus enumerates in that book, either spoke or understood Greek. 
The Oriental churches were composed of Greeks ; and that the 
Egyptians understood Greek, is manifest from their bishops and 
doctors, Origen, Alexander, Athanasius, Theophilus, Cyril, who 
were Alexandrians, and published all their works in Greek. Epi- 
phanius had his see in Cyprus, and delivered his instructions to his 
people in Greek. At Jerusalem Cyril and others imparted the 
gospel to their flock in Greek, and the Catechetical Discourses of 
Cyril written in Greek are still extant. In Gaul, Irenasus himself 
wrote his books in Greek; which shews that the Greek language 
was not unknown to the Lyonnese and Gauls. In Italy too Greek 
was understood, and therefore Paul wrote his Epistle to the Romans 
in that language : for he would not have written it in Greek, if 
those to whom he wrote could not have understood it. And Irena3us, 
cited by Eusebius, Lib. v. c. 24, testifies that Anicetus the bishop 
of Home gave Poly carp liberty "to administer the eucharist in his 
church 2 ;" which he would not have done, if the Romans could not 
understand Polycarp who was a Grecian. But, however the case 
may have been, there were persons who could readily interpret, and 
the scriptures were immediately translated into almost all languages, 
into Latin, at least, by many hands, since Augustine, as we have 
already heard, writes, that, in his time there were innumerable 
Latin versions. And although a knowledge of Greek was not so 
common in Africa, yet they had versions of their own, as we learn 

[ 2 KCU cv 777 fKK\rj(ria Tra.pexa>pW V AVIKIJTOS rr]V fi>xapi<TTiav ra> IIoAv- 
tear evTpoTrrjv drjXovori. H. E. Lib. v. c. 24. (Tom. ii. p. 128. ed. 
Heinich. Lipsise, 1828.) Valesius understands these words in the same sense 
as Whitaker. But Le Moyne, Prolegom. in Var. S. p. 28, and Heinichen in 
loc. contend, that Irenseus only meant to say that Anicetus gave the Eucharist 
to Polycarp. However the word Trape^copj/o-e seems in favour of Whitaker s 
construction. Lowth compares Constitut. Apostol. n. 58, eVtrpe^ety S avrw 
(that is, a foreign bishop visiting another bishop s see) KOI TTJV 


from Tertullian, Cyprian, and Augustine, within 400, or 300, or 200, 
years after Christ. 

But Bellarmine objects, that Peter wrote to the Jews in Greek, 
and that James did the same ; and John, in like manner, his Epistle 
to the Parthians, as Augustine tells us 1 , Quaest. Evangel. 1. n. quaest. 
39, and Hyginus in Epist. i., and Pope John II. in his Epistle to 
Valerius : and yet Greek was the mother tongue, neither of the Jews 
nor of the Parthians. 

I answer, in the first place, that I cannot see what this is meant 
to prove, unless it be that the apostles deliberately wrote to some 
persons what they could not possibly understand ; which is a course 
very abhorrent from the apostles real purpose. 

Secondly, the Jews in their dispersion had learned the Greek 
language, which was then the language most commonly used by all 
men, sufficiently to understand the epistles which they received 
written in Greek from the apostles. And the apostles knew that 
those letters would be still more profitable to others than to the 
Jews, and therefore wrote them not in the Jewish but in the Greek 

Thirdly, I do not think that John wrote his Epistle to the 
Parthians. Whence Augustine derived this account, is uncertain 2 . 
One might just as well pretend that he wrote to the Indians as to 
the Parthians. But suppose he did write to these latter, still the 
Parthians do not seem to have been wholly unacquainted with Greek, 
since Plutarch, in his life of Crassus, tells us that the slaughtered 
Crassus was mocked by the Parthians in Greek verses 3 . 

[ x Secundum sententiam hanc etiam illud dictum est a Johanne in Epis- 
tola ad Parthos : * Dilectissimi, mine filii Dei sumus, &c. Opp. T. in. p. 2.] 

[ 2 " How Augustine and some Latins call this Epistle ad Partlws, we may 
explain in the following manner. The Second Epistle of John was called by 
the ancients Epistola ad Virgines, and consequently in Greek, Trpbs irapdevovs. 
Clemens expresses himself thus in the Adumbrations: Secunda Johannis 
Epistola, quce ad Virgines scripta est, simplicissima est Tom. n. Op. Clem. 
Alex. p. 10. 11. edit. Venet. We find in Greek MSS. the subscription Trpbs 
TrapQovs, in the second Epistle ; whence Whiston s conjecture in the " Com 
mentary on the three catholic Epistles of St John," London, 1719, p. 6, that 
irdptiovs was an abbreviation of irapdzvovs, is confirmed." Hug. Introd. to 
N. T. Waits transl. Vol. n. p. 255. Dr Wait, in a note, gives Srpco^ara as 
the proper Greek title of the Adumbrations, but this is a mistake. The 
book meant is the YTrorvTreoo-eiy, from which these Latin collections were 
made by Cassiodorus.] 

[ 3 adopevuv de TU>V efa^tjs a/zoi/3aiW Trpbs rbv 


But to all objections of this sort one answer is sufficient, that 
the apostles chose to use one language for writing, which was the 
best known of all, in order that what they wrote might with the 
greater facility be understood by all ; which design of theirs is most 
plainly repugnant to the theory of the papists. And although all 
might not understand that language, yet the apostolic scripture 
might with the utmost ease and convenience be translated out of it, 
and transmitted to the tongues of other nations and countries. Nor 
was it to be expected that the apostles should write to each people 
in the mother tongue of every several region. 

The third argument is drawn from the use of the universal 
church ; and the conclusion is inferred thus : that which the universal 
church hath held and observed is right : now, the universal church 
hath ever confined itself to these three languages, Hebrew, Greek, 
and Latin, in the common and public use of the scriptures ; there 
fore no other versions are necessary. He proves the major by the 
testimony of Augustine, Epist. 118 1 , where he says that it is a piece of 
the wildest insolence to dispute against that which is practised by the 
universal church. And the same father, in his fourth book of Baptism 
against the Donatists, lays it down, that whatever is practised in the 
universal church, if its beginning cannot be assigned, should be be 
lieved to descend from apostolic tradition, and to have been always 
as it is now. To the same purpose he adduces also the testimony of 
Leo from his second discourse De Jejunio Pentecostes. He subjoins 
that now, wherever catholics are, use is made only of the Greek 
and Latin languages in the public reading of the scriptures, and 
that the commencement of this custom cannot be assigned. 

I answer, in the first place, that this is not the proper time for 
disputing concerning ecclesiastical traditions and customs. We shall, 
if the Lord permit, handle that whole question hereafter in its ap 
propriate place. 

Secondly, we should consider, not so much what hath been done 
or observed in the Church, as what ought to have been done and 
observed. For it does not follow, if the public use of the Latin 


efj,ov TO yepas. 

Plut. Opp. T. i. 565, A. Francof. 1620. 

The lines in which Crassus was so barbarously ridiculed were taken from the 
Bacchse of Euripides, and Plutarch tells us that both Hyrodes and Artavasdes 
were familiar with the Greek literature.] 

[! Ep. 54. p. 164. Opp. T. ii. Bassan. 1797.] 


tongue exclusively hath obtained in Italy, Spain, France, Germany, 
and the rest of these nations, that therefore such a practice is in 
no way open to reprehension ; but what we must look to is, whe 
ther these churches have done right in publicly reading the scrip 
tures in an unknown tongue. And if the church have forbidden the 
scriptures to be read in any tongue but the Latin, we must not 
therefore think that the church hath committed no error in such 
an inhibition. 

Thirdly, that is altogether false which he asserts of this having 
been the unbroken custom and tradition of the universal church, 
as shall presently appear. Wherefore these opinions of Augustine 
and Leo are irrelevant to the present subject, and we seem able 
to concede that whatever the universal church hath always held 
is apostolic: but nothing which can justly claim that character is 

The whole force of this argument depends upon the proof of the 
assumption; for which many things are adduced, which we must 
discuss severally. Nor must you think that time is spent in vain 
upon these ; since they are necessary for the refutation of our ad 

Now, first, Augustine is said to affirm, Doctr. Christ. Lib. n. 
c. 11, that the scripture was wont to to be read in the church 
only in three languages, the Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. But, if 
you will consult the place itself, you will perceive that nothing of 
the kind is said by Augustine. What Augustine says is 1 , that 
to persons whose language is the Latin, the knowledge of two 
other tongues is needful, namely, of the Hebrew and the Greek : 
he subjoins as the reason, " in order that they may be able to recur 
to the previous exemplars," that is, the originals. Does it follow 
that, because the Latins ought to procure for themselves some 
knowledge of the Hebrew and Greek tongues in order that they 
may the better understand the sense of scripture, therefore the 
scriptures were not customarily read in any but these three lan 
guages ? For it is to the Latins that Augustine delivers these pre 
cepts : he says expressly, " men of the Latin language, whom we 
have now undertaken to instruct." Hence nothing can be concluded 
against us, but something may be concluded against them. For, if 

[ l Et Latinse quidera linguse homines, quos nunc instruendos suscepimus, 
duabus aliis ad scripturarum divinarum cognitionem opus habent, Hebrsea 
scilicet et Grseca, ut ad exemplaria prsecedentia recurratur, si quam dubi- 
tationem attulerit Latinorum interpretum infinita varietas.] 


the Latins ought to learn the Hebrew and Greek languages, to 
enable them to understand the scriptures aright, and to square 
their versions by the rule of the originals; it follows that more 
deference should be given to the Hebrew and Greek editions than 
to the Latin, and consequently, that the Latin is not, as they would 
have it, authentic. 

As to the statement which the Jesuit subjoins, that no ancient 
author hath mentioned any other version, I am amazed that he 
should have brought himself to make such an assertion. For 
Jerome, whom they make the author of the Latin Vulgate, trans 
lated the scriptures into the Dalmatian, which was his mother 
tongue 2 . This is so certain that Hosius, in his book de Sacro Ver- 
nacule Legendo, writes thus : " It is undoubted that Jerome 
translated the sacred books into Dalmatian 3 ." And in the same 
book he praises the Dalmatian language, and declares it to be 
very famous. So Alphonsus de Castro, Lib. i. c. 13 ; " We con 
fess that the sacred books were formerly translated into the vulgar 
tongue 4 :" and he cites Erasmus, who writes that Jerome translated 
the scriptures into the Dalmatian language. Harding, Art. in. 
sect. 38 5 , writes that the Armenians, Russians, Ethiopians, Dalma 
tians and Muscovites read the scriptures in their own vernacular 
tongues. Eckius makes the same confession, in his Enchiridion 
de Missis Latine Dicendis 6 . Cornelius Agrippa, in his book of the 
Vanity of the Sciences (if that author deserve any credit), says 
that it was decreed by the council of Nice, that no Christian should 
be without a bible in his house 7 . Socrates too testifies, that Ulphi- 
lus, a bishop of the Goths, who was present at the council of Nice, 
translated the scriptures into the Gothic language, in order that the 
people might learn them. His words are, Lib. iv. c. 38 8 : " Having 

[ 2 This is now universally allowed to be a mistake. It is exposed by 
Hody, Lib. in. pars n. c. 2. 8. p. 362.] 

[ 3 Dalmatica lingua sacros libros Hieronymum vertisse constat. Opp. 
Col. 1584. T. i. p. 664.] 

[ 4 Fatemur . . . olim sacros libros in linguam vulgarem fuisse translates. 
Col. 1539. fol. 28. 2.] 

[ 5 See Jewel, Controversy with Harding, Vol. I. Parker Soc. edit. p. 

[ 6 I cannot find this admission in c. 34. of the Enchiridion, 1. c. 1534.] 

[7 Et Nicena Synodus decretis suis cavit ne quis e numero Christianorum 
sacris Bibliorum libris careret. cap. 100. ad fin.] 

[ 8 ras Oeias ypcxpas els rrjv TorQutv /iera/3aXo>v, rovs ftapftdpovs 
TO. Oeia Xo yia Trapeo-Kevacrcv. p. 206. ed. Vales. Par. 1686.] 


translated the divine scriptures into the Gothic language, he pre 
pared the barbarians to learn the oracles of God." And Sixtus 
Senensis, Bibliothec. Lib. vin., says that Chrysostom translated 
the scriptures into the Armenian language 1 . Jerome, too, in his 
Epitaph upon Paula, affirms that the Psalms were chanted by 
the Christians of Palestine at Paula s 2 funeral, in the Hebrew, 
Greek, Latin and Syriac, tongues; and that not only for three 
days, whilst she was a-burying beneath the church, beside the 
Lord s cave, but during the whole week. It is manifest, therefore, 
that the Psalms were translated into Syriac. Stapleton, however, 
in his English book against bishop Jewel, of sacred memory, Art. 
in., says that these were extraordinary hymns, and not the Psalms 
of David; which figment rests upon no proof, and offends even 
other papists : for Jerome plainly speaks of the Psalms, when he 
says, " they chanted them out in order." Our Jesuit, therefore, 
pronounces the place corrupt ; pretending that some of the books 
do not exhibit the word "Hebra30," and that the Syriac is here 
used for the Hebrew. 

Thus do they turn themselves in every direction to escape that 
light. This was the ingenious conjecture of Marianus Victorius, 
who hath done noble service in corrupting Jerome. But, in the 
first place, Erasmus, who laboured quite as diligently, and far more 
faithfully than Victorius, as editor of Jerome, and who had seen as 
many copies as he, could discover nothing of the kind in that 
place. Furthermore, if the Syriac language here meant the 
Hebrew, it ought certainly to have been enumerated in the first 
place : for when authors, and especially Jerome, enumerate lan 
guages, the Hebrew is usually allowed the first place. 

But to proceed. In our own histories we read that the scrip 
tures were translated into the British language, by order of king 
Athelstan, nine hundred years ago. And John of Trevisa writes, 
that our countryman Bede translated the gospel of John into 
English, Lib. v. c. 24; and that the Psalms were translated by 
order of Alfred, Lib. vi. c. 1. And Bede tells us, Lib. i. c. 1, 
that, in his time, the scriptures were read in five British languages. 
His words in that passage are as follows : " This island at present, 
according to the number of the books wherein the divine law was 

[i See Hug. Introd. toN. T. . 86.] 

[ 2 Tota ad funus ejus Palsestinarum urbium turba convenit. . . . Hebrseo, 
Greece, Latino, Syroque sermone, Psalmi in ordine personabant. Epist. 
xxxvi. T. iv. part. n. 687, 8.] 


written, searches and confesses one and the same knowledge of the 
sublimest truth and truest sublimity in the languages of five people, 
that is, of the English, the Britons, the Scots, the Picts, and the 
Latins ; which by meditation of the scripture hath become common 
to all 3 ." It is therefore manifest, that the statement that there are 
no vernacular version mentioned by any ancient author is emi 
nently and most plainly false. 

But the Jesuit goes on to mention particular churches ; and 
first he discourses thus concerning the African church. All the 
Africans did not understand Latin. But the scriptures were in 
Africa read only in Latin. Now, that the Latin was not the vulgar 
tongue of all the Carthaginians, we have the testimony of Augustine, 
in the beginning of his Exposition of the Epistle to the Romans ; who 
affirms that some of the Carthaginians understood both Latin and 
Punic, some Punic only, and that almost all the rustics were of this 
latter class. Also, Serm. 35. de Verbis Domini, he says that the 
Punic language is a-kin to the Hebrew 4 . And Jerome, in the 
Preface to his Second book upon the Epistle to the Galatians 5 , 
writes that the language of the Africans is the same as the Phoeni 
cian, with only a little alteration. 

I answer, in the first place : No one says that the Punic lan 
guage was the same as the Latin. The contrary may be seen even 
from the Paenulus of Plautus 6 ; nor did any one ever entertain a 
doubt upon that subject. However it is quite uncertain whether 
there were any Punic version of the scriptures. How will our 
adversaries prove that there was none, by the testimony of Augus 
tine or of any other writer ? Augustine no where denies it ; and 
although no monuments of such a thing be now extant, yet it does 
not follow thence that there was no version. For in old times the 
scriptures were translated into our own tongue, and yet scarcely any 
traces of those versions are now apparent. There were certainly 
pious bishops in all those parts of Africa, Numidia, Mauritania, who 
cherished a tender solicitude for the salvation of their people. It 

[ 3 Hsec insula in praesenti, juxta numerum librorum, quibus lex divina 
scripta est, quinque gentium linguis unam eandemque summse veritatis et 
verse sublimitatis scientiam scrutatur et confitetur, Anglorum videlicet, Brito- 
num, Scotorum, Pictorum et Latinorum, quse meditatione scripturarum omni 
bus estfacta communis. Opp. T, i. p. 9. ed. Stevens. Lond. 1841.] 

[ 4 Serm. cxiii. 2. Tom. v. col. 568. Opp. Par. 1679. 1700.] 

[ 5 Quum et Afri Phcenicum linguam non nulla ex parte mutaverint. 
T. iv. 255, 6.] 

[ 6 Plauti Famulus. Y. I. &c.] 


seems incredible that there should have been no one found amongst 
them to do that for the Carthaginians, which we read that Jerome 
did for the Dalmatians, translate the scriptures into the language 
of the people. 

Secondly, in the more frequented and civilized places, and con 
siderable cities, the Africans understood Latin, and could speak it ; 
so that we are not to wonder that the scriptures were read in Latin 
at Carthage, as appears from Cyprian ; at Milevi, as we find from 
Optatus ; at Hippo, as appears from Augustine. For these fathers 
read and expounded the scriptures in Latin in their churches : nor 
would they have used the Latin tongue in their homilies and 
harangues, if the people could not have understood that language. 
Augustine upon Psalm xviii. hath these words : " Most dearly be 
loved, that which we have sung with harmonious voice, we ought 
also to know and hold in an unclouded breast 1 . * In his book de 
Catechiz. Rudibus, cap. 9 2 , he warns the people not to ridicule their 
pastors, if they shall happen to express themselves ungrammatically 
in their prayers and sermons. Whence it is plain that some of the 
common people were often better skilled in Latin than the ministers 
themselves. In his Retractations, Lib. i. c. 20, he says that he had 
composed a certain Psalm in Latin letters against the Donatists, 
with the express object that it should reach the knowledge of the 
very lowest of the people, the unskilful and illiterate 3 . In his 
Serin. 24, deVerbis Apost. he speaks thus: "The Punic proverb is 
well known, which I will tell you in Latin, because all of you do not 
understand Punic 4 ." Therefore the common people understood Latin 
better than Punic. Upon Psalm 1.: "We all know," says he, "that 
in Latin one cannot say sanguines, or sanguina, but sanguinem*" 
And when he addressed the people, he was much more careful to be 
intelligible, than to express himself with purity. So on Psalm cxx viii. 6 : 

[! Carissirni, quod consona voce cantavimus, sereno etiam corde nosse et 
tenere [ac videre] debemus. T. iv. 81, 2.J 

[2 13. Tom. vi. col. 272,] 

[ 3 Tom. i. col. 31. Volens etiam causam Donatistarum ad ipsius humil- 
limi vulgi et omnino imperitorum atque idiotarum notitiam pervenire .... 
psalmum, qui eis cantaretur, per Latinas literas feci.] 

[4 Proverbium notum est Punicum: quod quidem Latine vobis dicam, 
quia Punice non omnes nostis. T. v. 804. (Serai, clxvii. 4.)] 

[5 Omnes novimus Latine non dici sanguines nee sanguina, sed sanguinem. 
T. iv. 472.] 

[ 6 Ego dicam ossum : sic enim potius loquamur : melius est ut nos repre- 
liendant grammatici, quam non intelligant populi. T. iv. col. 1545.] 


" I will say ossum : for so we should rather speak. It is better 
that the grammarians should blame, than that the people should 
not understand us." And upon John, Tract. 7, " Lend me your 
kind attention. It is dolus, not dolor. I mention this because 
many brethren, who are not very skilful in the Latin tongue, are in 
the habit of using such phrases as, Dolus ilium torquet, when they 
mean what is denoted by Dolor**." And Augustine, Confess. Lib. i. 
c. 14, says that he learned the Latin language, " amidst the 
caresses of the nursery, the jokes of those that laughed, and the 
smiles of those that played with him 8 ." Now Augustine was born 
and bred at Tagasta, in Africa, as appears from the Confessions, 
Lib. iv. c. 7. From these circumstances it is clear that the people 
of Africa, especially in the cities and more populous places, not only 
understood Latin, but could speak it too, although perhaps not 
always with that purity which an exact Latinity would have re 

The Jesuit goes on to enumerate the Spanish, English, French, 
German, and Italian churches ; with respect to which it is not 
necessary that I should answer him upon each case severally. I 
am aware that, in these later times, the people were plunged in the 
densest darkness, and that even in the centre of Italy and Rome 
every thing was read in a foreign language. But before this igno 
rance and antichristian tyranny, in the older and purer times of 
the church, I affirm that the scriptures were never, in any country, 
read publicly to the people in any other language but that which 
the people understood. Our adversary will never be able to prove 
the contrary. The Latin tongue certainly of old prevailed widely 
in the western part of the world, so that the scriptures may have 
been read in Latin in those countries which Bellarmine mentions, 
and yet have been understood by the people. Augustine tells us, 
in his City of God, Lib. xix. c. 7, " Care was taken that the im 
perial city should impose not only her yoke, but her language also, 
upon the vanquished nations 9 ." Plutarch, in his Platonic Questions 10 , 

[ 7 Intendat caritas vestra ; dolus, non dolor est. Hoc propterea dico quia 
multi fratres imperitiores Latinitatis loquuntur sic ut dicant, Dolus ilium tor 
quet, pro eo quod est Dolor. T. in. P. n. 349.] 

[ 8 Inter blandimenta nutricum, et joca arridentium, et Isetitias alluden- 

[ 9 Data opera est ut civitas imperiosa non solum jugum, verum etiam 
linguam suam, domitis gentibus imponeret.] 

[ 10 coy doKfl fioi TTfpi Pco/zaiW Xe-yeii/, coi> /uei> Xoyco vvv 6/xov TL rravres av- 
pvvT 01 P- 1010. c. T. n. Opp. Francofurt. 1620.] 



affirms that almost all men use the Latin language. And Strabo 
says this expressly of the Gauls and Spaniards. Besides, there 
may have been versions of the scriptures in those churches, which 
are unknown, and unheard of, by us. It is quite certain that the 
reading of the scriptures was everywhere understood in those 
churches. Isidore, in his book De Offic. Eccles. c. 10, writes thus 
of the Spanish and all other churches : " It behoves that when the 
Psalms are sung, all should sing ; and when the prayers are said, 
they should be said by all ; and that when the lesson is read, silence 
should be kept that it may be heard equally by all 1 ." Where the 
language is a strange one, men can neither sing together, nor pray 
together, nor hear anything together : for not to understand what 
another reads or says, comes to the same thing as not to hear it. 
It is therefore sufficiently evident from Isidore, that in Spain the 
Latin language was known to those who used it in the reading of 
the scriptures. And this is likewise manifest of Gaul. For Sulpi- 
tius Severus, in his Life of Martin, informs us, that, when the 
people had assembled to choose Martin bishop, upon the reader not 
appearing, one of the by-standers seized the book, and read the 
eighth Psalm ; at the reading of which a general shout was raised 
by the people, and the opposite party were reduced to silence 2 . 
From this testimony we collect that the people understood very well 
what was read to them ; for otherwise no occasion would have been 
afforded them of raising this acclamation. Whence it follows, either 
that this people were not unacquainted with the Latin tongue, or 
that there was then extant some vernacular version of the scripture. 
Now then we have sufficiently answered this argument ; but there 
will be something to be answered again in the other part upon this 

The fourth argument is drawn from the reason of the thing 
itself. It is requisite that the public use of scripture should be in 
some language most common to all men, for the sake of preserving 
the unity of the church, But at present there is no language 
more common than the Latin. He proves the major by the con 
sideration that otherwise the communion between churches would be 
destroyed, and it would be impossible that general councils should 
be celebrated ; for all the fathers have not the gift of tongues. 

[ l Oportet ut quando psallitur, ab omnibus psallatur : et cum oratur, ut 
oretur ab omnibus ; quando lectio legitur, ut facto silentio seque audiatur a 
cunctis. Isid. Opp. Col. Agripp. 1617, p. 393.] 

[2 Sulpitii Severi. Opp. Amstel. 1665, p. 452.] 


I answer : All the parts of this argument are weak. For, in 
the first place, it is false that no language is more common than 
the Latin, even in the West. In truth there is hardly any less 
common. For at the present day none understand Latin, but those 
who have learned it from a master. Formerly, indeed, this was 
the native and common language of many people ; but now, in the 
greatest multitude that can be collected, how few will you find that 
are acquainted with Latin ! 

Secondly, if, as Bellarmine himself confesses, the very reason 
why the apostles at first wrote almost everything in Greek, was 
because that language was the most common of all, and the 
scriptures were afterwards translated into Latin, because afterwards 
the Latin became more common ; it follows that now also the 
scriptures should be rendered into other languages which are now 
more common than either Latin or Greek. Such are now the 
Dalmatian, Italian, French, German, Polish. For these are the 
mother-tongues of great nations ; whereas the Latin is the mother- 
tongue of no nation whatever. At this day the Latin is a stranger 
in Latium itself, is the vernacular language of no people, but 
peculiar to learned men and those who have attended the lessons 
of some master in the schools. 

Thirdly, his pretence that the inter-communion of churches 
would be destroyed, and the celebration of general councils ren 
dered impossible, unless the scriptures were everywhere read in 
some one most common language, is absurd and repugnant to all 
reason and experience. For formerly, when the scriptures were 
read in Hebrew by the Hebrews, in Greek by the Grecians, and 
in Latin by the Latins, there was nevertheless the greatest friend 
ship amongst Christians and the closest union in the church, nor 
was there any impediment to the holding of general councils. In 
the Nicene council there were Greek and Latin fathers, who all, 
though they did not use one and the same language, yet defended 
the same faith with the most zealous unanimity. If it be a thing 
so conducive to the conservation of the church s unity, that the 
scriptures should everywhere be read in the same language, why 
were not measures taken to insure it from the beginning ? Or why 
ought the Latin language to be deemed fitter for such a purpose than 
any other ? These dreams are only meet subjects for laughter ; 
and therefore this argument hath been omitted by the editor of the 

The fifth argument. If there be no cause why the scriptures 



should be translated vernacularly, then they ought not to be trans 
lated. But there is no cause why they should be translated ; 
which is thus proved. If they are translated in order that the 
people may understand them, this is no good cause, since the 
people cannot understand them even when they are translated. 
For the people would not understand the prophets and Psalms, 
and other pieces which are read in the churches, even if they 
were read in the vernacular language. For these things even the 
learned do not understand, unless they read and hear expositors. 

I answer, in the first place, by confessing that all things are 
not immediately understood upon the reading even by the learned, 
especially in the prophets and the Psalms. For to enable us to 
understand the scriptures, there is need not only of reading, but 
of study, meditation and prayer. But if, for this reason, the 
people ought not to read the scriptures in their own tongue, then 
even the learned ought not to be permitted to read them. How 
ever there are many things which can be understood, though not 
all : and assuredly, all things which are necessary to salvation are 
plainly delivered in scripture, so as that they can be easily under 
stood by any one if he will. And men would know more than 
they do, if they would read and hear the scriptures with that 
attention which they ought to bestow. For the reason why most 
men understand so little, and gain such slender advantage from the 
reading of the scriptures, is to be found in their own negligence, 
because they neither give a religious attention to the perusal of 
them, nor approach it with the proper dispositions. 

Secondly, although the whole sense be not immediately per 
ceived, yet the words are understood when they are recited in the 
mother-tongue ; and this greatly conduces towards gaining a 
knowledge of the sense. The eunuch, Acts viii., was reading the 
prophet Isaiah, which yet he did not thoroughly understand. 
Nevertheless, he was to be praised for reading it, and hath de 
servedly been praised by many of the fathers. He understood the 
words indeed, but knew not that the prophet spoke of Christ, and 
was ignorant of the true sense. But these men do not allow the 
people to understand even so much as the words. However, as 
that reading of the scripture was useful to the eunuch, so it will be 
useful to the people to be diligent in reading the scriptures, so as 
that, from understanding the words, they may come to understand 
the sense of the whole. For the first step is to know the words, 
the second to perceive the drift of the discourse. But the papists 


arc so far from wishing the people to comprehend the sense of 
scripture, that they prevent them from even reading the words. 

The sixth argument. It is dangerous for the people to read 
the scriptures,; since they would not derive benefit from the 
scriptures, but injury. All heresies have sprung from misunder 
standing of scripture, as Hilary observes at the end of his book 
de synodis 1 ; and Luther calls the scriptures the book of heretics: 
and this is further proved by experience. Hence have sprung the 
heresies of the Anthropomorphites, the Adamites 2 , and of David 
George 3 , who understood no language but his mother-tongue. If 
the people were to hear the Song of songs read, the adultery of 
David, the incest of Tamar, the story of Leah and Rachel, the 
falsehoods of Judith, they would either despise the holy patriarchs, 
or argue that similar things were lawful to themselves, or believe 
these to be false. Bellarmine further subjoins, that he heard from 
a credible witness, that once when in England the twenty-fifth 
chapter of Ecclesiasticus was being read in the vulgar tongue, 
wherein many things are spoken of the wickedness of women, a 
certain woman rose up and exclaimed: "Is this the word of God? 
nay, rather it is the word of the devil." And the Rhemists, in 
their note upon 1 Cor. xiv,, say that the translation of holy offices 
often breeds manifold perils and contempt in the vulgar sort, 
leading them to suppose that God is the author of sin, when they 
read, " Lead us not into temptation :" although they seem here to 
have forgotten what they have observed elsewhere, that the Lord s 
prayer should be allowed in the vernacular language. The censors 
of Cologne, too, in their book against Monhemius, p. 20, tell us, 
* No heresy was ever found which did not make use of scripture ; 

[ The reference meant is most probably ad Constant. August, n. 9. Sed 
memento tamen neminem hsereticorum esse qui se mine 11011 secundum 
scripturas prsedicare ea, quibus blasphemat, mentiatur .... omnes scrip- 
turas sine scripturse sensu loquuntur. Col- 1230. Hilarii Opp, Paris. 1693.] 

[ 2 There was an ancient sect of Adamites, said by Theodoret (Hrcr. Fab. 
p. 197) to have been founded by Prodicus, (whose tenets are described by 
Clemens Alex. Strom, i. p. 304. B. and 3. pp. 438, 439,) and of which the 
fullest account is given by Epiphanius, (Heeres. 52,) but only upon hearsay, 
(p. 458, c.) But the persons meant by Bellarmine were probably the Picards, 
exterminated by Zisca in the 15th century, and the Anabaptists of Amster 
dam in the 16th. See Bayle s Diet. Art. PICARD, and Beausobre s Disserta 
tion at the end of L Enfant s History of the Hussites, Amsterd. 1731.] 

[ 3 Founder of the Davidists. He died 155G. See Mosheim, Cent, 16. 
sect. 3. part. n. c. 3. 24.] 


yea, to speak still more boldly, which did not take its occasion 
from scripture 1 ." 

I answer, in the first place : All these suggestions are the product 
of human ingenuity, and impeach the divine wisdom. For if the 
reading of these things were so dangerous, why did the Lord will 
that they should be written, and that in the language which the 
whole church understood, and afterwards should be translated into 
the Greek and Latin tongues, which latter our adversary himself 
affirms to be the most common of all ? These things ought rather to 
have been buried than consigned to writing, if they were so fraught 
with danger to piety and good morals. 

Secondly, there is nothing which the reading of these histories 
is less fitted to produce than either contempt for the saints, or any 
kind of petulance and impiety. For though in those histories the 
adultery of David is narrated, yet so is also, in the same narratives, 
the penitence of David and his punishment described; the knowledge 
whereof is useful to the church and all the faithful. For, in the 
first place, hence we learn that no one can sin with impunity ; but 
that every one, if he sin, must undergo the penalty of sin, either in 
the shape of chastisement, as David, or in that of vengeance, as others. 
We learn farther, that one must not despair though he may have 
sinned ; but that, however heinous the sin into which he may have 
fallen, there is hope that God will be merciful for Christ s sake, if 
the sinner heartily repent. Lastly, that those holy and excellent 
men were not saved by their own virtues, but by the merits of Christ, 
and consequently that we ought not to think of them more mag 
nificently than is proper ; as indeed there is less danger of our 
attributing too little to them than too much : on which account the 
Holy Spirit did not choose to pass in silence these actions, which 
were not small delinquencies, but most enormous crimes. 

Thirdly, no scandal springs truly and legitimately from scripture. 
In Rom. xv. 4, the apostle declares why the scriptures were pub 
lished, and what end they regard ; not to lead men into false opinions, 
but "they are written for our learning, that we through patience 
and comfort of the scriptures might have hope." In Psalm cxix. 9, 
David asks, "Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way?" 
He answers, not by avoiding or remaining ignorant of the scriptures, 
but, "by taking heed to them." Even young men, therefore, whose 
age is especially prone to lust, may nevertheless be usefully engaged 

[ l Nulla unquam reperta est hseresis, quse non scripturis fuerit usa: imo 
ut audentius dicamus, qusc non ex scripturis occasionem acceperit. Colon. 1582.] 


in the study of the scriptures. In Psalm xii. 7, he says that "the 
words of the Lord" are "pure words:" but these men are afraid, 
lest, as the apostle, 1 Cor. xv. 33, reminds us that good manners are 
corrupted hy evil communication, so men should be made worse 
and more estranged from piety by the perusal of the scriptures. 
Meanwhile, they who remove the scriptures from the eyes of men, 
as pestilent to all pious behaviour, permit all young men to read 
Proper tius, Martial, Ovid, Plautus, Terence, and forbid not the most 
shameful comedies and the foulest shews. What can be conceived 
more impious and antichristian than such conduct ? 

Fourthly, as to his assertion that heresies spring from the scrip 
ture not being understood, I confess its truth. But, as all heresies 
are wont to spring from not understanding or ill understanding 
scripture, so all heresies are refuted by the scriptures well and 
fittingly understood and expounded. Hence the Anthropomorphites, 
hence the Adamites, hence all the other heretics are convicted of 
error. Now it is much better that the scriptures should be read, 
and that, from the scriptures read and understood, heresies should 
be condemned and overthrown, than that they should not be read 
at all ; and that by such means the rise of heresies should be pre 
vented. For doubtless many more persons perish through ignorance 
of scripture, than through heresy; and it is from ignorance of 
scripture, and not from the reading of it, that heresies themselves 

Fifthly, whether Luther ever really said that "scripture is the 
book of the heretics," is neither very certain nor very important. 
Indeed they are wont to abuse the scriptures, but still may always 
be convicted and refuted by the same. 

Sixthly, the story which he subjoins, as heard from some 
Englishman, about a certain woman, who, when that chapter of 
Ecclesiasticus 2 was read in England, rose up in a rage and spoke 
with little modesty of that scripture, I leave entirely on the credit 
of the good man from whom Bellarmine heard it. But what if a 
few persons sometimes abuse the scriptures ; does it therefore follow 
that the scriptures are to be wholly taken away, and never read 
to the people? In this way of reasoning, even the learned 
should never read the scriptures, since many even very learned 
men abuse the scriptures, as is the case with almost all heretics. 

[ 2 It is to be observed that, in our present Calendar, Ecclus. xxv., which is 
the evening lesson for November 6, is ordered to be read only to ver. 13. No 
such rule however was made in King Edward s Prayer-book.] 


Besides, if the abuse of any thing were sufficient to set aside its use, 
we should abstain from food and from drink, and even forego the 
use of clothes, because many people abuse these things to gluttony, 
drunkenness and pride. This then is the most noted of all fallacies, 
putting that which is not the cause for the cause, and arguing from 
accidental circumstances. 

In the seventh place, the Jesuit reasons thus : if the scrip 
tures should be read by the people in the vulgar tongue, then 
new versions should be made in every age, because languages are 
changed every age ; which he proves from Horace s Art of Poetry l 
and from experience. But this would be impossible, because there 
would be a lack of persons fit to make the versions ; and, if it 
were possible, it would be absurd that the versions should be so 
often changed. Therefore the scriptures ought not to be read in 
the vernacular tongue. 

I answer, every part of this argument is ridiculous. For, in 
the first place, it is false that languages change every age ; since 
the primary tongues, the Hebrew, Greek and Latin, have not 
undergone such frequent alterations. Secondly, there is never in 
Christian churches a lack of some sufficient interpreters, able to 
translate the scriptures and render their genuine meaning in the 
vulgar tongue. Thirdly, no inconvenience will follow if inter 
pretations or versions of scripture, when they have become obsolete 
and ceased to be easily intelligible, be afterwards changed and 
corrected. I would assuredly have passed over this argument 
entirely, if I had not determined not to conceal or dissemble any 
arguments of our opponents. 

The Jesuit s eighth argument is taken from the authority of 
the fathers. He brings forward the testimonies of two illustrious 
fathers, to whom we are bound to render the highest deference on 
account of their consummate and manifold erudition, Basil and 
Jerome. Basil then, as Theodoret relates, Hist. Lib. iv. cap. 19, 
when the prefect of the imperial kitchen was prating with into 
lerable impudence and ignorance concerning the dogmas of theo 
logy, answered him thus : " It is your business to mind your 
sauces, not to cook the divine oracles 2 ." 

t 1 Ut silvse foliis pronos mutantur in annos, 

Prima cadunt : ita verborum vetus intent setas 

Et juvenum ritu florent modo riata, vigentque. v. 60.] 

[ 2 Traprjv Se TIS ArjjjLoo-Oevijs KoXovpcvos T<OV /3ao-iAiKa>y 7rpo[j.7)6ovpfvos o^cov, 
os T6) didder KaXop rrjs oiKovfJievrjs fTTip.fp^a.jj.fVOs e /3ap/3aptcrei , 6 Be 6elos Ba<ri- 


I answer, This prefect of the imperial kitchen was by name 
Demosthenes, and troubled the holy father with exceeding in 
solence and ignorance ; for, being himself a stupid barbarian, he 
would yet, as Theodoret tells us, instruct the doctor of the whole 
world, TOV i<!>d(jKa\ov Trjs oLKou/aevri^ 9 for so Basil was esteemed. 
The courtier imagined, it seems, that he, a person at once wholly 
unlearned and very fooliih, could maintain a disputation upon the 
scriptures with Basil, a man of profound learning, most expert in 
scriptures, and a bishop of the church. This was the reason why 
Basil answered him so sharply, 2oi/ ecrrt rds 1 TWV ^W/LLWV KapvKeias 
(ftpovTifyiv. And, indeed, those who are like this man ought to 
be treated in like manner, and rebuked with much severity : but 
what is this to the purpose ? It is one thing to read the scriptures, 
and another thing to suppose ourselves to understand them when 
we do not. Basil did riot blame the cook for having read the 
scriptures, but for having the conceit that he had obtained such 
distinguished knowledge as to be able to dispute with him con 
cerning the scriptures, when he did not understand them. This 
arrogance of his Basil wished to crush, and to shut his impudent 
mouth with that answer, not to prevent him from reading the 
scriptures. All should be expected, when they read the scriptures, 
to read them with judgment, lest they be like this foolish De 
mosthenes ; who, because he was altogether illiterate and possessed 
with heretical prejudices, seemed to Basil a person unworthy to 
discourse upon religious subjects. For so Basil addresses him : 
" Thou canst not hear the divine doctrines, for thine ears are 
stuffed against them." 

I come now to the testimony of Jerome cited by the Jesuit, 
which is contained in the epistle to Paulinus, and runs thus : 
" Physicians undertake the proper business of physicians, and 
workmen handle workmen s tools. Skill in the scriptures is the 
only art which all claim for themselves. Learned and unlearned, 
we all promiscuously write poems. This the garrulous crone, this 
the doting old man, this the wordy sophist, this all indiscriminately 
seize on, tear, teach before they learn. Some with importance on 
their brows, and weighing their pompous words, philosophize upon 
the sacred books amongst their female disciples. Others (0 

<pr], KOL 

eKclvos Svo-xepdvas yTretXrja-f, 2oi/ ecrrtv, (<pi] 6 (j-eyas BacriXaos, rfjs T<av 
KapvKfias (f>povrietv doypaToiv yap 6eia>v eVcueii/ ov dvvao-ai, 
ras aKods. p. 174, c. D. ed. Vales. Paris. 1673.] 


shame !) learn from women what they are to teach to men ; and, 
as if this were not enough, by a certain facility, or rather au 
dacity, of talk discourse to others what they do not understand 
themselves 1 ." These are the words of Jerome : to which I answer, 
that Jerome s complaint is just; since those persons should not treat 
of scripture, who are ignorant and unskilful in the subject. But 
here it is to be observed, that Jerome does not blame the men and 
women of whom he speaks for reading the scriptures, but because, 
as soon as ever they had the slightest taste of scriptural knowledge, 
they supposed immediately that they understood every thing, that 
they could teach others, and could interpret the scriptures to others, 
when they did not understand them themselves ; and because they 
rushed precipitately into the scriptures without that modesty which 
is to be preserved in the perusal of them. He blames, therefore, 
their impudence, unskilfulness, insolence and arrogance, but does 
not prevent them from reading the scriptures; yea, rather, he would 
have all to read the scriptures, provided they read with modesty 
and reverence. 

These are the arguments of the Jesuit ; to which, I hope, we 
have returned an answer abundantly sufficient. There are others 
who handle this question, as Harding, Art. 15. Sect. 3, who dis 
tributes this whole controversy under five heads. He proves that 
a vernacular translation of the scriptures is, first, unnecessary ; 
secondly, not fitting ; thirdly, not useful ; fourthly, unsafe ; fifthly, 
heretical. But it is not worth while to answer his arguments 
also, and obviate the objections which he brings against vernacular 
versions of the bible ; as well because they are absolutely the 
same with those alleged by the Jesuit, as also because they have 
been already most copiously and learnedly confuted by that dis 
tinguished man, Doctor John Jewel, bishop of Sarum, whom they 
may read who desire to see more upon this matter. 

t 1 Quod medicorum est promittunt medici, tractant fabrilia jfabri. Sola 
scripturarum ars est quam sibi omnes passim vindicant. Scribimus indocti 
doctique poemata passim. Hanc garrula anus, lianc delirus senex, hanc 
sophista verbosus, hanc universi prsesumunt, lacerant, decent antequam dis- 
cant. Alii adducto supercilio, grandia verba trutinantes, inter mulierculas de 
sacris literis philosophantur. Alii discunt (proh pudor !) a feminis quod viros 
doccant i et ne parura hoc sit, quadara facilitate verborum, imo audacia, edis- 
serunt aliis quod ipsi non intelligunt. T. iv. p. 571.] 




I COME now to the defence of our own side, in which I have to 
prove that the scriptures are to be set forth before all Christians in 
their vernacular tongues, so as that every individual may be enabled 
to read them. 

Now my first argument shall be to this effect : that which is 
by God prescribed to all, all should do. But God hath commanded 
all to read the scriptures : therefore all are bound to read the 
scriptures. There can be no controversy about the major, unless 
some one doubt whether we are bound to obey God. The as 
sumption however may perhaps be questioned. We must inquire, 
therefore, whether God hath prescribed this to all. And this may 
very easily be made to appear ; for God hath chosen that his will 
should be written, that his word should be committed to writing, 
that his scriptures should be commended to men, and that in a 
language known not only to the learned, but to the vulgar also. 
What could have been his object in this, if it were not that all 
people should read the scriptures, and recognise the will and word 
of God ? In Deut. xxxi. 11, 12, there is an express command of 
God concerning the reading of the scriptures before the whole 
people : " Thou shalt read the words of this law in the presence of 
all Israel, in their hearing, and to all the people collected together." 
And lest any of the people should peradventure suppose himself 
exempted by some special privilege, and discharged from the 
obligation of this divine command, Moses makes use of a distributive 
enumeration, naming expressly the women, the children, and the 
strangers, and subjoining even their posterity. But why does God 
will his law to be read before the whole people ? The reason is 
added, " that they may hear, and may learn, and fear Jehovah and 
observe his precepts." Now this is of perpetual obligation : therefore 
the reading of the scripture is always necessary. For if the end 
and proximate cause of any law be perpetual, the law itself is to be 
esteemed perpetual. But the reasons on account of which God 
willed the scriptures to be read are perpetual. Therefore he wills 
them to be read to the people perpetually throughout all ages. 

In Deut. xvii. 19, 20, it is particularly enjoined upon the king 
that he should read the scriptures : and the same reasons are added 
as were given before, and also some peculiar to the king ; as that, 


lest his soul should be lifted up with pride, and he should despise 
his brethren, and depart from this precept, " to the right hand or to 
the left." In Deut. vi. 6, 7, 8, 9, this command is proposed to all 
Israel, and even urged vehemently upon them, that the words of 
the divine law should be graven upon their hearts ; that they 
should tell them to their sons ; that they should speak of them 
when they sat at home and when they walked by the way, when 
they lay down and when they rose up ; that they should have 
them, as it were, bound upon their hands, and kept ever before 
their eyes ; finally, that they should be inscribed upon the posts of 
their houses and upon their doors. From all which we understand 
that God would have his law most familiarly known to his people. 

In Jer. xxxvi. 6, 7, the prophet commands Baruch to read the 
book which he had written from Jeremiah s dictation, before the whole 
people ; and the reason is subjoined, " if peradventure they may 
fall down, and make entreaty before Jehovah, and return each man 
from his evil way." And in the new Testament Christ, John v. 
39, bids men epevvqv rds ypa(pa<$, " search the scriptures." In 
which place he addresses not only the persons of learning and 
erudition, that is, the Scribes and Pharisees, but also the unlearned 
people and the illiterate vulgar : for not the learned alone, but 
the unlearned also, seek and desire eternal life ; yea, salvation and 
the kingdom of God pertains to the latter equally with the former 
class. Chrysostom observes upon that place, Horn. 40, that Christ 
exhorts the Jews in that passage not merely to a bare and simple 
reading of the scriptures, but sets them upon a very diligent 
investigation, since he bids them not to read, but to search the 
scriptures. John xx. 31, the Evangelist says : " These things are 
written that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of 
God ; and that believing ye may have life through his name." 
Now all desire life and salvation ; all too desire faith, or, at least, 
ought to desire it. Thus then we reason from this passage : without 
faith there is no life : without the scriptures there is no faith : the 
scriptures therefore should be set forth before all men. Rom. xv. 
14, " Whatsoever things were written were written for our learn 
ing," says Paul. The Lord therefore willed us to be learned, and 
this is saving knowledge. He subjoins, " that we, through patience 
and comfort of the scriptures, might have hope." Those therefore 
who are without the scriptures are without patience, without 
comfort, without hope ; for all these things are produced by the 


Our second argument stands thus : The people should not be 
deprived of those arms by which they are to be protected against 
Satan. Now the scriptures are such arms : therefore the scrip 
tures should not be taken away from the people; for taken away 
they are, if the people be prevented from reading them. The 
major is self evident. The assumption is proved by the example 
of Christ himself, Matt. iv. For when Christ had to deal with 
Satan, and was engaged in a close encounter with him, he repressed 
and refuted him with no other arms than the scriptures. Thrice 
he answered him with, " It is written," and with the third reply 
he routed him. If Christ defended himself against Satan with the 
scriptures, how much more needful are the scriptures to us against 
the same enemy ! And it was for this end that Christ used the 
weapons of scripture against Satan, that he might afford us an 
example ; for he could have repelled Satan with a single word. 
We therefore ought to resist Satan in the same manner. It is 
folly to suppose that Satan can be driven away by bare ceremonies, 
exorcisms, gesticulations, and outward fopperies. We must fight 
with arguments drawn from scripture, and the examples of the 
holy fathers : the scriptures are the only arms which can prevail, 
or ought to be used against him. Those, therefore, who take the 
holy scriptures away from the people, leave them exposed naked 
to Satan, and hurl them into most certain destruction. For with 
out the protection of scripture the people must necessarily fall 
under all temptations. The apostle Paul, Eph. vi. 16, says that 
the shield, Qvpeov, wherewith the fiery darts of Satan are to be 
quenched, is TTICTTIS, faith. Now faith, as the same apostle testi 
fies, Rom. x, 17, is " begotten by hearing, and hearing by the 
word of God." And, as we resist Satan by faith, which is produced 
by the scriptures, so also is he to be attacked by scripture. For in 
the same place that /md^aipa Tryej^uaros, the spiritual sword, 
is said to be the word of God. From the scriptures, therefore, we 
must take both what are called offensive and defensive arms 
against Satan, with which furnished upon all sides, we shall un 
doubtedly obtain a happy victory. All the other arms there 
described depend upon faith acquired from the scriptures. Thus 
then we conclude this place and our second argument. All who 
have to contend with Satan ought to read the scriptures, that 
they may use those arms which are supplied by the scriptures 
expertly and skilfully against that deadly and most formidable foe. 
Now Satan wages war against all men without exception. All there- 


fore ought to read the scriptures ; and consequently the scriptures 
ought to be set forth for all people in their own vernacular languages. 

My third argument I form thus : The scriptures are to be 
read publicly in such a manner as that the people may be able to 
derive some advantage from them. But they cannot be useful to 
the people in an unknown tongue : therefore they should be 
translated into a language known to the people. The major is 
indubitable ; and, for the minor, it is proved by Paul, 1 Cor. xiv. 
through almost the whole of which chapter he handles this ques 
tion : " If I shall come to you," says he, v. 6, " speaking with 
tongues, what shall I profit you ?" T I y/xa? ^(peXtjcra) ; as if he 
had said, " certainly nothing." And, verse 7, he proves by the 
examples of things without life, as pipe and harp, " which," says 
he, " unless they give a distinction (SiaaToXyv) in their tones, how 
shall it be known what is piped or harped?" In like manner it 
behoves our speech to be CUO-T^UO?, or significant. So he concludes, 
verse 19, that he would rather speak five words in the church &a 
yoos, with his understanding, so as to instruct others, than " ten 
thousand words in an unknown tongue," ev yXwcrari. Chrysostom, 
in his 35th homily upon the first epistle to the Corinthians, exclaims, 
" What utility can there be in a speech not understood ?" TTWS yap 
CLTTO (pwvijs $s ov criWre 1 ; and in the same homily: "He who 
speaks with tongues edifies himself: yet he cannot do even so much 
as this, unless he understand what he says." So that, according 
to Chrysostom, the reading of what one does not understand, can 
not profit either others or even the reader himself : yet the popish 
priests used to read every thing in Latin, although very many of 
them were mere illiterate persons. But we shall speak more at 
large upon this subject in the next part. 

The fourth argument, The Lord commands and requires 
that the people should be instructed, full of wisdom and knowledge, 
and perfectly acquainted with the mysteries of salvation. He often 
complains of the ignorance of the people, and commands them to 
be exercised in his word, that they may thence acquire wisdom and 
understanding. Therefore the people ought to read the scriptures, 
since without the reading of the scriptures they cannot acquire 
such knowledge. Now they cannot read them, unless they be 
translated : therefore the scriptures ought to be translated. 
The antecedent is easily proved by many testimonies of scrip 
ture. Deut. iv. 6, God wills his people Israel to be so well 

[ l T, x. p. 323.] 


instructed, so endued with wisdom and knowledge of his law, that 
foreign nations, when they hear of it, may wonder amd exclaim, 
" Lo a people wise and understanding, a great nation ! " Coloss. iii. 
16, the apostle desires that the word of Christ may evotKelv, dwell 
abundantly, or copiously, TrXova-iws, in the Colossians. And, in the 
same epistle, i. 9, he wishes that they may be filled " with the 
knowledge of his will, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding." 
And chap. ii. 2, he requires in them " a full assurance of under 
standing to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God." And, 2 
Cor. viii. 7, he says that the Corinthians Trepicrcreveiv, are abun 
dantly filled " with faith, and utterance, and knowledge." And 
Numb. ii. 29, Moses wishes that all the people were prophets. 
And, 1 Cor. xiv. 5, Paul wishes that all might speak with tongues, 
but rather that they should prophesy. Philip, i. 9, the same 
apostle prays that the love of the Philippians may abound more 
and more, " in knowledge and in all judgment." And, 2 Pet. i. 5, 
Peter admonishes those to whom he writes that they should add vir 
tue to faith, and to virtue and sanctity of life T-^V yviocriv, know 
ledge. From these passages we perceive that wisdom, prudence, 
knowledge and understanding are required in the people of God ; 
and therefore those who retain them in a stupid and gross igno 
rance of the scripture inflict a grievous injury upon the people. 

Nay, the fathers also confess, that a knowledge of, and 
acquaintance with, the scriptures is necessary for all Christians. 
Jerome in his commentary upon the Colossians, iii. 16, says: 
" Hence we see that the laity ought to have not only a suffi 
cient, but an abundant knowledge of the scriptures, and also to 
instruct each other 2 ." Chrysostom, in his ninth homily upon the 
Colossians, writing upon the same passage, remarks that the 
apostle requires the people to know the word of God, not simply, 
but in great abundance, ov^ a7rXo>9, aXXa //era TroXXj/s rfjs 
Trepioua-ias ; and adds : " Attend, all ye that are secular (KO&IHIKOI), 
and have wives and families depending upon you, how he (the 
apostle) specially commands you to read the scripture; and not 
merely to read it in a perfunctory manner, but with great dili 
gence," a XXct /uerd TroXX^s CTTTOV^. Chrysostom observes in 
that same place, that the apostle does not say, let the word of God 
be in you; but, let it dwell in you; and that, 7rXoy<rws, richly 3 . 

[ 2 Hinc perspicimus non tantum sufficienter, sed etiam abundantur debere 
lacios scripturarum cognitionem habcre, et se invicem docere. T. XL 1029. 
But this Commentary is not Jerome s.] 

[ 3 T. XL p. 391.] 


CEcumenius too observes upon the same passage, that the doctrine 
of Christ should dwell in us ev iroXXr, $a\f/i\eia, most abundantly. 
Now, how are we to obtain so full a knowledge of it as this im 
plies? CEcumenius informs us by subjoining, Sid riys TU>V ypa(pa>v 
epevvrjs, by searching the scriptures. So Thomas Aquinas in his 
third lecture upon this chapter : " Some," says he, " are satis 
fied with a very small portion of the word of God ; but the apostle 
desires we should have much of it 1 ." 

Our adversaries urge many objections against such knowledge 
being diffused amongst the people. In the first place they allege 
what is found in Luke viii. 10, where Christ says to his disciples : 
" Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, 
but to the rest I speak in parables." Hence they conclude that 
the scriptures should only be communicated to the learned and 
well-instructed, that is, to the ministers, bishops, priests and pro 
fessors, bat refused to the laity and unlearned people. 

But I answer, that Christ spoke in that place not of the com 
mon people, but of the scribes and Pharisees who proudly resisted 
him, who " seeing saw not, and hearing did not understand ;" 
and therefore that those words have no reference to the cause we 
have in hand. Thus it is that cardinal Hugo (not to mention 
others) interprets this place ; and so also the ordinary gloss. Thus 
Hugo : "To you ; that is, who hear willingly, and repose faith in 
my words 2 ." And the ordinary gloss still more plainly in this man 
ner : " Holy things are to be imparted to you who are faithful, 
not to the incredulous Pharisees 3 ." These words of Christ, therefore, 
are no obstacle to the reading of holy scripture by the laity and 
unlearned persons. 

Against such a knowledge in the people, in the second place, Ho- 
sius (in his book de Sacr. Vernac. Legend. Opp. p. 742. Lugd 1563) 
objects certain testimonies of the fathers ; as namely, Augustine, Con 
tra Epist. Fundament, c. 4, where he says; "It is not the vivacity 
of their understanding, but the simplicity of belief which best secures 
the multitude 4 ;" and in his 102nd Epistle 5 , where he says: "If Christ 

[* Quibusdam sufficit modicum quid de verbo Dei : sed apostolus vult 
quod habeamus multum, p. 164. 2. T. xvi. Opp. Yenet. 1593.] 

[ 2 Vobis, hoc est, qui libenter auditis, et fidem habetis verbis meis.j 
[3 Vobis qui fideles estis, non Pharisseis incredulis, sancta sunt danda,] 
[ 4 Turbam non intelligendi vivacitas, sed credendi simplicitas tutam facit. 
Tom. x. p. 183. Opp. Bassan. 1797.] 

[ 5 Si propter cos solos Christus mortuus est qui certa intelligentia possunt 
ista discernere, pene frustra in ecclesia laboramus. T. n. p. 786.] 


died only for those who can distinguish these matters by a certain 
intelligence, we labour almost in vain in the church," &c. To the 
same effect also he produces Gregory Nazianzen, Lib. i. de Theo- 
logia, where he says : " It is not the business of all persons to 
dispute concerning God, and the things of God 6 ," &c. 

I answer, These testimonies do by no means prohibit the read 
ing of the scriptures, as will better appear upon a particular exami 
nation of them. For first, as to Augustine : I allow with him, 
that an accurate knowledge of mysteries is not required of the com 
mon people, fcut that it is sufficient for them if they hold the 
foundation of religion sound and whole : for all cannot be quick 
in understanding, and it is enough if they be simple in believing. 
But this simplicity is not that sort of brute ignorance which the 
papists would have in their laity ; since such an ignorance, as the 
papists defend, should rather be styled utter stupidity than simpli 
city. But the simplicity of Christians should be combined with 
prudence ; for while Christ would have us to be simple as doves, he 
would have us also to be wise as serpents, Matth. x. 16. Christ 
died for many, who cannot dispute acutely of the mystery of salva 
tion, or handle and discuss theological questions in a scholastic man 
ner : this I allow to be said, and truly said, by Augustine ; but 
this does not prove that no knowledge is required in the people. 
I confess that the people do not need to have as much knowledge 
as the learned, who are wholly occupied in books and literature ; 
but the people ought not to be (as the papists would have them) 
wholly ignorant of the scriptures and of all knowledge. Gregory 
the Great hath a somewhat similar maxim : " In the common peo 
ple it is not knowledge, but a good life that is requisite 7 ." And 
Tertullian, in his Prescriptions against Heretics : " This faith of 
thine hath saved thee ; thy faith, he says, not thy knowledge or 
expertness in scripture 8 ." The same answer will serve for the pas 
sage from Nazianzen. He does not say that the scriptures should 
not be read by the people, but that every body is not competent 
to determine questions concerning God and abstruse mysteries of 

religion : ov Travros TO Trepl Qeov (pikovcxpeiv* which we will- 

[ 6 Ov iravros, <o OVTOI, TO Trepl Qeov (pikoo-otydv, ov TravTos, ov% oureo TO 
7rpayfj.a fvatvov . . . TTpoo-^cra) 8e, ovde iravroTf, ovSe Traaiv, ovfte navTa. Orat. 
xxxm. p. 530, c. T. i. Col. 1690.] 

[ 7 Non requiritur in vulgo scientia, sed bona vita.] 

[ 8 Fides, inquit, tua te salvam fecit, non exercitatio scripturarum. c. 14. 
p. 10. P. m. Tertull. Opp. Lips. 1841.] 



ingly allow. " For the matter," says he, " is not so mean and 
vile, ov~ ovro) TO TTpayima evaovov, as that every one is able 
to philosophize upon it." Then he says a little lower down, 
" Neither all subjects indiscriminately should be discoursed of, nor 
yet everywhere or to all: 11 ovre Trctwrore, OVTG TTCLCTLV^ ovre 
Travra. Those, therefore, who have never read or heard anything, 
or who are unskilful, and yet venture to discuss divine matters, 
such persons are deservedly obnoxious to blame ; and such are the 
persons whom Nazianzen means. The unskilful ought, indeed, to 
leave such discussions to others. But the same father 1 exhorts all 
men to the reading -of scripture, from that passage of David, 
Psalm i. 2 : " And in the law of the Lord he meditates day and 
night ;" and from Deut. vi. : " Yea," says he in that same place, 
" we should think of God oftener than we breathe : /Uivri^ovevreov 
TOV Geou jUiaXXov rj avairvevcrreov and, if possible, oucev a\\o 
TrpaKTeov, nothing else should be done." This very learned father 
Nazianzen therefore is no patron of the papists. 

Our fifth argument is to this effect : Christ taught the people 
in their mother-tongue ; so also the apostles and disciples of Christ, 
as well when upon the day of Pentecost they published the gospel 
in a known tongue, as afterwards when, scattered over the whole 
world, they taught all nations in their own native languages. 
Hence we draw our conclusion thus : The holy doctrine of the 
gospel is not contaminated when preached or taught in the verna 
cular tongue ; therefore, not when it is written or read in the 
vernacular tongue. This is the argument of Chemnitz, which the 
Jesuit, in his manuscript lectures, pronounces not worth a farthing. 
The question of farthings will give us no concern. The point is to 
know, why it is invalid ? " Firstly," says he, " because an 
argument from the preaching of the word to the writing of the 
word is inconsequential ; since in preaching every thing may be 
so explained to the people as to make them capable of understand 
ing it ; but in writing each matter is propounded nakedly by itself. 
Secondly, because the apostles preached in various tongues, but all 
wrote in the same language." 

Let us examine this reply of the Jesuit s. I allow, indeed, that 
the word preached is much more easily understood than when it is 

[ 1 Kayo) Toiv 7raivovvTcov et/u TOV \6yov, os p.f\Tav rj^epas KOI VVKTOS 8ia- 
KeXeverai, KCU ecnrepas Kal Trpwt KOI fj.O"ijp^pias Si^yeTcr&it, KOI tiiXoyelv TOV 
Kvpiov V Travrl Kaipto el del Kdi TO Mcoucrecos flrrelvf Koi 

fJLVOV, odoiTTOpOVVTd, OTLOVV aXXo TTpaTTOVTO.. Ut Slip. p. 531. B.] 


merely read ; because, when preached, each several point is ex 
plained, and variously accommodated and referred to the use of the 
people, which cannot be done when it is merely read. Nevertheless 
the same word should be set forth for the people in their mother 
tongue, in order that, when it is preached, they may have it in 
their hands, and so may see whether that which is propounded to 
them be indeed the word of God, as we read of the Beroeans, Acts 
xvii. ; otherwise any one, at his pleasure, might deliver what he 
liked to the people, and enjoin it upon them as the word of God. 
And the people will derive from this combined preaching and read 
ing of the scripture advantages both solid and abundant. Besides, 
although they do not immediately understand all they read, yet 
they do understand much, and will understand more every day, 
if they persevere in reading. What is to-day obscure, will become 
clearer to-morrow ; what is now unknown, will afterwards, by use 
and exercise, become better understood. Furthermore, I confess, 
too, that the apostles wrote only in one language ; for it would have 
been an infinite task to have written the same things in all the 
languages of all nations : but I say that this one tongue was the 
commonest and most generally diffused of all, so as to render it the 
more easy for the scripture to reach the greatest possible number, 
and be the better and more quickly translated into all other lan 
guages. Translated, in fact, it was immediately, as we have already 
said, and shall presently shew. 

But here the Jesuit brings a comparison, of how many far 
things worth it may be well to consider. Nurses, says he, do 
not put the food whole into the mouths of infants, but chewed 
before-hand ; and in the same way, ministers should not deliver 
the book of scripture entire to the people. I answer : The people 
should not be always like infants, so as always to require chewed 
meat ; that is, when they hear the scripture in their native lan 
guage, understand nothing of it unless it be explained by a mi 
nister. The minister s voice is indeed required, that the people 
may understand obscure passages, and be excited to the practice 
and exercise of those duties which they have learned from the 
word : yet should they not be so ignorant and childish as not to 
recognise and understand the reading of the scriptures. Such a 
state of childhood in the people the apostle frequently reprehends, 
as in 1 Cor. xiv. 20 ; Eph. iv. 14 ; Heb. v. 12 ; and requires from 
them senses exercised in scripture, aiaO^r^pia yeyv^acrimeva. It 
is not fit, therefore, that the people should be always infants, but 



in due time they should become men, and "put away childish 
things," 1 Cor. xiii. 11. 

Our last argument (not to heap up too many) is drawn from 
the use and practice of the ancient church. It is evident from 
history and the books of the holy fathers, that the scriptures were 
translated into all languages, and that the people were always ad 
monished by their pastors to read them with diligence and assiduity. 
Hence we draw our conclusion thus : Formerly the scriptures were 
extant in vernacular languages, and were also read by the people. 
Therefore the same is lawful at the present day. 

The antecedent hath been proved already above, where we 
shewed that Jerome translated the scriptures into Dalmatian, 
Chrysostom into Armenian, Ulphilas, a bishop of the Goths, 
into Gothic ; and others into other languages. But the Jesuit 
replies, that, though the scriptures may lawfully be translated 
into vernacular languages, yet, when so translated, they should 
not be read publicly in the churches ; and that, as to those ver 
nacular versions of Jerome, Chrysostom, and the rest, which 
we mentioned above, they were not communicated to all, but 
were only written for the consolation of some particular persons. 
But the Jesuit cannot thus escape through such a chink as this. 
For, since the reason of these versions was a public one, and had 
regard to all, namely, that all might thus be enabled to read the 
scriptures, and obtain a knowledge of them, this fiction of the 
Jesuit s is easily confuted. Now the truth of this appears from the 
design of all these versions : and specially of the Gothic Socrates, 
Lib. TV. c. 33, tells us that its reason and end was that the barba 
rians might learn and understand " the divine oracles." The scrip 
tures, therefore, were not translated for the sake of a few, but of 
all, in order that they might be read by all. For what else could 
be the reason of these versions ? If they had been unwilling that 
the scriptures should be publicly read, they would never have put 
them into the vulgar tongue. If it had been unlawful for the 
scriptures to be read publicly in the vulgar tongue, as the papists 
would persuade us, can we suppose that Jerome, Chrysostom, and 
other pious fathers, would ever have rendered them into the proper 
and native language of the common people ? This is incredible 
and absurd. But I shall prove, by many testimonies of the fathers 
that the scriptures were read by all. Jerome, upon Ps. Ixxxvi. 
writes thus 1 : "The Lord hath related in the scriptures of the 

[ l T. vm. p. 103.] 


people, the holy scriptures ; which scriptures," says he, " are 
read by all people:" whence it appears that none were prevent 
ed from reading them. But why were the scriptures read by 
all people ? Jerome answers in the same place, to the end 
" that all might understand." Not therefore, according to the 
Jesuit s fiction, that one or a few might understand them. Chry- 
sostom, in his first Homily 2 upon the Gospel of John, writes that 
the Syrians, Egyptians, Indians, Persians, Ethiopians, and innumer 
able other nations, had translated the divine doctrines " into their 
own language, and thus the barbarians had learned philosophy." 

If any one desires a still more illustrious testimony, let him 
read Augustine, De Doct. Christ. Lib. u. c. 5, where these words 
may be found: "Hence it hath come to pass, that the scripture 
of God (which is the remedy for such grievous disorders of the 
human will), proceeding from one language, commodiously fitted 
for dissemination through the globe, and diffused far and wide 
by the various tongues of its interpreters, hath become known 
to all people for their salvation ; which when they read, they 
desire nothing else but to find out the thoughts and will of those 
by whom it was written, and through them the will of God, ac 
cording to which we believe that such men as they were spoke 3 ." 
Thus far Augustine, in whose words we may observe these five 
points : First, that the scripture was published in that language, 
from which it might most conveniently be transfused into others. 
Secondly, that in fact it was variously translated. Thirdly, that it 
thus became known to all for salvation. Fourthly, that it was read 
by the people ; which is evident from the words, "reading which 
they desire nothing else." Fifthly, that it was not only read, but 
understood ; which the last words render sufficiently apparent. 

Theodoret, in the fifth book of Therapeutic Discourses, estab 
lishes the same fact in these words : " The Hebrew books were 
not only translated into the Greek language, but into the Ro 
man tongue also, into the Egyptian, Persian, Indian, Armenian, 

[ 2 Horn. 2. al. 1. T. vm. p. 10, B.] 

[ 3 Ex quo factum est, ut scriptura divina (qua tantis morbis humanarum 
voluntatum subvenitur), ab una lingua profecta, quse opportune potuit per 
orbem terrarum disseminari, per varias interpretum linguas longe lateque 
diffusa, innotesceret gentibus ad salutem; quam legentes nihil aliud appe- 
tunt, quam cogitationes voluntatemque illorum a quibus conscripta est inve- 
nire, et per illas voluntatem Dei, secundum quam tales homines loquutos esse 


Scythian, and even Sarmatian, or (to say it at once in one 
word) into all the languages which nations use up to this day 1 ." 
Nothing could possibly be written more explicitly. 

From what hath been said, it is evident that the scriptures 
were formerly translated into the vulgar tongue; not only into 
some certain languages, but into all promiscuously. Where 
fore now, in like manner, they should be translated and read 
vernacularly. Were I now to proceed in detail through all those 
sentences of the fathers in which they exhort the people to the 
study of the scriptures, I should never come to an end. Chry- 
sostom presses this exhortation most earnestly in many places, and 
is so vehement in the matter that we seem actually frigid in com 
parison of him. In his ninth Homily upon the Epistle to the 
Colossians, he uses these expressions: "Hear me, I beseech you, 
all men of secular life. Procure for yourselves bibles, the medicines 
of the soul. If ye will have nothing else, get yourselves even the 
new Testament alone, the Apostolic Epistles, the Acts, the Gospels, 
as your constant and perpetual instructors. Should any distress 
befall you, apply to this as a dispensary of remedies. Hence draw 
your balm, whether it be losses, or death, or domestic bereavement, 
that hath befallen you. Nay, not only apply to it, but take it all 
in and hold it in your mind. The one great cause of all evils is 
ignorance of scripture." In the same place, he addresses fathers 
of families thus : " You lay every thing on our shoulders : it were 
fitting that you only should need to be instructed by us, and by 
you your wives, and by you your children, should be taught 2 / 

Hence it appears how absurd is the answer of the Jesuit, 
when he endeavours to wrest the testimony of this father out of 
our hands. " Chrysostom," says he, " is not to be understood in 
the sense which the words seem to bear at first sight ; for he 
speaks with exaggerated emphasis. He only wishes by these 
exhortations to take the people off from the games and spectacles 
to which they were at that time wholly given up." To which I 
might reply, that now also there are games and spectacles and 
many other occasions by which the people are seduced from piety; 

[* Kai 77 *E/3pcuW (fxovrj ov p.6vov els rrjv TO>V E\\r]va>v /u,er 6/3X77 $77, aXXa 
KOI fls TTJV rmv Pco/zatW KCU AlyvTrrioov KCU Hepcrwv KCU ivSiov KCU A/>/zmW 
Kal "2KvOcov KOI 2avpo/zarc5j/, Kai <Tv\\^j3^r]v drrelv, els 7rd<ras ras yXco rras als 

ajravra ra Win] Kxpr)fj.eva StareXei. Greec. Affect. Curat. (ed. Svlburg. 1692.) 

Serai, v. p. 81. 1. 14.] 

[ 2 T. xi. p. 390.] 


and that therefore in these times also they should be exhorted to 
read the scriptures. But it is manifest that Chrysostom did not 
merely say these things to deter the people from such trifling and 
seductive amusements, or take them off from their pursuits, but 
because he thought the perusal of the scriptures appertained to the 
duty of the people. In consequence, in his third Homily upon 
Lazarus, he wishes the people to examine the passage at home 
which he was about to treat of in the church. His words are 
as follows : " On this very account we often forewarn you, many 
days before, of the subject upon which we intend to speak, in 
order that, in the intervening time, you may take up the book 
and weigh the whole matter ; and thus, by distinctly understand 
ing what hath been^ said and what still remains to be said, your 
minds may be the better prepared to hear what shall afterwards 
be discoursed to you. And now I constantly exhort you, and 
shall never cease to exhort you, not merely to attend here to what 
is said to you, but also, when you are at home, to betake your 
selves assiduously to the perusal of the holy scriptures 3 ." Then 
he removes all the excuses which the people used to allege for 
not reading the sacred scriptures, not only that about the spec 
tacles, but others much more reasonable, as the following : "I am 
not a monk, but a layman ; I have a wife, and children, and a 
family to mind, and am distracted by a multiplicity of avocations ; 
this appertains to others and not to me." All these he removes, 
and affirms more than once : " It is impossible, it is, I say, impos 
sible, that any one can obtain salvation, who is not continually 
employed in spiritual studies." Yea, he removes also the excuse 
grounded upon the obscurity of scripture, and says that it is 
nothing but " a pretext and cloak of carelessness." He writes 
to the same effect, Horn. 29 in Genes. ; Horn. 13 in Joan. ; Horn. 
2 in Matt. ; Horn. 3 in 2 Thess. ; and elsewhere ; which testimony 
I, for the present, omit to cite at length. 

Other fathers also agree with Chrysostom and us in this 
matter. Origen, Horn. 12 in Exod. 4 , blames the people in many 
words for not attending to the scripture in church, and meditating 
upon it at home also. The same author, in his second Homily 
upon Isaiah, says : " Would that we all did that which is written, 
* Search the scriptures 5 ." He says all, not merely the learned, or 

[3 T. i. p. 737. A. B.] 
[ 4 p. 174. A. ed. Benedict.] 

[ 5 Utinamque omnes facereraus illud quod scriptum est, Scrutamini scrip- 
turas. Opp. T. i. p. 639. Basil. 1536.] 


the bishops, or the spiritualty. Jerome, in his Epistle to Eusto- 
chium, exhorts her to the constant reading of the scriptures. But 
here the Jesuit answers, that Eustochium and her mother Paula 
understood not only Latin, but Greek and Hebrew also ; and adds 
farther, that they were modest women, and that, if all women were 
like them, they might without danger be permitted to read the holy 
scriptures. But Jerome invites not only Eustochium, but all pious 
women to the reading of the scriptures ; and in the epitaph of 
Paula he affirms, that not only Eustochium but all the sisters sung 
the Psalms of David in course : " None of the sisters," says he, 
" was allowed to remain ignorant of the Psalms, or to fail of learn 
ing something from the holy scriptures every day 1 ." Writing to 
the widow Salvina 2 , he exhorts her to be continually occupied with 
pious reading. So also he exhorts a matron named Celancia 3 , to 
make it "her chief care" to know the law of God. And he writes 
in the same strain to many other females. Thus of old times all, 
both men and women, whose souls were warmed with any zeal for 
piety, were occupied in the reading of the scriptures. 

Theodoret, in the book already cited, namely, the fifth of his 
Therapeutic Discourses, writes thus concerning the present subject : 
" You may see everywhere these doctrines of ours understood not 
only by those who are masters in the church and teachers of the 
people, but by the very cobblers and smiths, weavers and artisans 
of every kind, yea, and by women too of all classes ; not alone 
those, if there be such, who are acquainted with literature, but by 
those who work for hire with their needles, by maid-servants and 
nursery girls. Nor is it only the inhabitants of cities who know 
these things, but the rustics have almost an equal acquaintance with 
them; and you will find men who dig the ground, or tend cattle, or 
plant vegetables, who can dispute of the divine Trinity and the cre 
ation of all things, and who are better acquainted with human 
nature than Plato and the Stagirite were 4 ." Thus Theodoret. But 

[ l Nee licebat cuiquam sore-rum ignorare Psalmos, et non quotidie aliquid 
de scripturis sanctis discere. Opp. p. 706. T. i.j 

[ 2 T. i. p. 493.] 

P T. i. p. 1089.] 

[^ Kai fcrriv Ide iv ravra eldoras TO. Soy^iara, ov povovs ye Ttja KK\rjcrLas 
rovs Sidao-KaXovs, dXXa KCU ovcvroro/ious, KOI ^aXKorvTrovs, Kal TaXacrtovpyot>y, 
Kai rovs a\\ovs a,7roxipo(3i&Tovs Kal yvvaiKas cocravreos, ov /JLOVOV ras Xoycoi/ 
fjLTfO~x>1Kvias, aXXa KOI xepvrjrio as KOI diceo-rpiSay, KOI pevroi Kal 6cpa.Tra.ivas 
Kal ov fJiovov darot, dXXa Kai ^copiri/cot rrjvde rrjv yvaxriv eV^Kacri Kal O~TIV 
evptiv Kal o~Ka7raveas Kal /So^Xaras- Kal (frvrovpyovs nepl rfjs Qelas StaXeyo/ze- 


the papists now make it a matter of reproach to us, that amongst 
us women converse about sacred matters, or any men even except 
the learned. Hosius complains bitterly of this in his book, De Sacro 
vernacule Legendo. " This profanation," says he, " rather than 
translation of the scripture has brought us not only men belt- 
makers, porters, bakers, tailors, cobblers ; but also female belt- 
makers, sewers and stitchers, she-apostles, prophetesses, doc- 
tresses 5 :" as if, forsooth, it were not lawful for women, in what 
ever station of life, to understand the mysteries of religion. And 
Alphonsus de Castro, de Just. Punit. ffceret. Lib. in. c. 6, says 
that the translation of the scriptures into the vulgar tongue is " the 
cause of all heresies 6 :" of course, because whatever displeases the 
Roman pontiff is undoubtedly heretical. But Eusebius, Demonstr. 
Evang. Lib. i. c. 6, passes a much sounder judgment upon this 
matter, when he says : " The divine doctrines may be learned as 
well by women as by men, by the poor as by the rich, by servants 
as by masters 7 ." Erasmus, a man of the greatest judgment and 
extraordinary genius, affirms in many places, that it is necessary 
that the scriptures should be translated and read by the people ; 
and, when he was blamed on that account by the divines of Paris, 
he defended himself against them not only by the precedent of the 
ancient church, but by the necessity of the thing itself. 

And let this suffice upon the first member of the second part of 
this second question. 

vovs rpiaSoy, icai ircpl TT)$ TI> oXcoi/ SrjjjLiovpyias, KOI TTJV avdpoTTfLav (pixnv 
tiSoras ApioToreXovs TroXXw paXXov KOI nXarcoi/oy. p. 81. ed. Sylburg. 1592. 
I have departed in one word from Sylburgius orthography, writing a7roxpo- 
piwrovs for aTro^f ipopiorovs. There are indeed some instances of dfiioTos, but 
Lobeck I think truly treats them as only a kind of a play upon /3toVos, in 
connexion with which they occur. See Lobeck ad Phrynich. p. 713.] 

[ 5 Profanatio hsec scripturse verius quam translatio non solum zonarios, 
bovillos, pistores, sartores, sutores, ye rum etiam zonarias, bo villas, sartrices, 
sutrices facit nobis apostolas, prophetissas, doctrices. Opp. p. 745. Lugdun. 

[ 6 The title of the chapter is De quinta causa hseresium, quae est Sacrse 
Scripturse translatio in linguam vulgarem. Fol. 208. 2. Salmant. 1547.] 

\} Jo-re Toiavra fiavddvfiv KOI (friXoa-otyew /MT) povov avdpas dXXa KOI yv- 
vaiKdSj 7r\ov(riovs re Ko.1 TreVqras, KOI dov\ovs q/ia SecrTrorcus 1 . p. 24. D. ed. 
Viger. Paris. 1628.] 




WE have now at length come to the second member of the 
second part of this question, which concerns the celebration of 
divine service, that is, the public prayers and offices of the church, 
in the vulgar tongue of all churches. The papists everywhere 
make use of the Latin tongue in all their churches throughout all 
nations : which practice, impious and absurd as it is, is yet con 
firmed by the authority of the council of Trent, Sess. xxn. cap. 8 ; 
where it is said "not to seem good to the fathers, that the mass 
should everywhere be celebrated in the vulgar tongue." Now 
under the name of the mass they understand the whole liturgy and 
all the offices of the church. Nevertheless it is permitted in the 
same decree " to pastors and those who have the cure of souls, fre 
quently during the celebration of mass, either themselves or through 
others, to expound some parts of what is read in the mass 1 ." And 
in canon ix. of that session, the council says : " If any affirm that 
the mass should only be celebrated in the vulgar tongue, let him be 
anathema 2 ." Hosius also hath written a book upon this subject, 
to which he gives this title, " De Sacro vernacule Legendo ;" 
wherein he asserts that the Latin was the only language ever used 
in the Western church, and the Greek in the Eastern. We, on 
the contrary, maintain that always in all ancient churches of 
the Christians the lessons and public prayers were held in that 
language which the people understood, and that so it should always 

[ l Etsi Missa magnam contincat populi fidelis eruditionem, non tamen 
visum est patribus, ut vulgar! passim lingua celcbretur. Quamobrem, retento 
ubique cujusque ecclesice antiquo, et a sancta Romana ecclesia, omnium 
ecclesiarum matre et magistra, probato ritu, ne oves Christi esuriant, neve 
parvuli panem petant, et non sit qui frangat eis, maiidat sancta Synodus pas- 
toribus et singulis curam animarum gercntibus, ut frequenter inter missarum 
celebrationem, vel per se vel per alios, ex iis quec in missa leguntur, aliquid 
exponant, atque inter cetera sanctissimi hujus sacrificii mysterium aliquod 
declarent, diebus prsesertim dominicis et festis. Sess. xxn. c. viii.j 

[ 2 Si quis dixerit, ecclesise Romance ritum, quo submissa voce pars canonis 
et verba consecrationis proferuntur, damnandum esse ; aut lingua tantum vul- 
gari missam celebrari debere ; aut aquam non miscendam esse vino in calice 
offerendo, eo quod sit contra Christi institutionem : anathema sit. Can. ix. 
ut supra.] 


be. Wherefore the reformed churches have justly banished these 
Latin services. The state, therefore, of the controversy is this ; 
whether public prayers are only to be held in the Latin tongue, or 
in the vulgar tongue of every nation? We have already proved 
that the scriptures should be translated into the vulgar tongue : and 
since the reason is the same for celebrating prayers and translating 
scripture vernacularly, the same arguments will serve for confirming 
this cause as for the former. On this account the Jesuit hath 
mixed up this question with the previous one, and treated of them 
both together : yet it seemed to us more prudent to discuss these 
matters separately. 

So much we thought fit to premise upon the state of the 
question. Let us now proceed to the arguments on both sides. 



IN the first place, as our proposed plan requires, we shall set 
forth the arguments of the papists, upon which they rely to prove 
that public prayers and the other offices of the church should only 
be celebrated in the Latin tongue. 

Their first argument is to this effect : The majesty of religious 
offices requires a language more grand and venerable than the 
vulgar tongues of every nation. Therefore they should be per 
formed in Latin, not in the vernacular. 

I answer : In the first place, What is that peculiar dignity, 
majesty, or sanctity which the Latin tongue hath more than others? 
Surely, none. Yea, nothing can be slighter, more futile, or more 
foolish, than those common Latin services which are used by the 
Roman church. For my part, I can recognise no greater holiness in 
one language than in another ; nor a greater dignity either ; unless, 
perhaps, they hold the Latin in such high esteem for the sake of 
its phrases, its antiquity, or the mysteries which are consigned in 
that language. But gravity, holiness, and majesty are in the things, 
not in the tongue. The Latin, therefore, cannot contribute any 
additional dignity to the scripture. Secondly, I deny that the 
majesty of sacred things can be diminished by any vernacular 
tongues, however barbarous. Nothing can be more dignified, ma 
jestic, or holy than the gospel. Yet, Acts ii., it was expounded 


and published by the apostles in all languages, even barbarous 
ones : which they certainly never would have done, if they had 
supposed that by so doing its majesty would have run the risk of 
being in the slightest degree impaired. But the Jesuit urges that 
there are many mysteries which must not be imparted to the 
people ; and that they are profaned when they are translated into 
the vulgar tongue, and so commonly published to everybody. This 
he proves by the testimonies of certain fathers, as Dionysius the 
Areopagite, Basil, and others. Nay, our countrymen the Rhemists, 
too, urge the same plea in their Annotations upon 1 Cor. xiv., where 
they complain most piteously that the mysteries of the sacraments 
are horribly profaned, which should be carefully concealed from the 
common people. 

I answer : In the first place, neither Christ nor the apostles 
ever commanded that those mysteries should be concealed from the 
people. Yea, on the contrary, Christ instituted such sacraments in 
order to instruct us through our very senses : this was the end of 
the institution itself. And, indeed, the whole significance of these 
mysteries was of old quite familiarly known by the people; and 
therefore the apostle, 1 Cor. x. 15, when about to enter upon a 
discourse concerning the sacraments, addresses the Corinthians thus : 
" I speak as to wise men ; judge ye what I say." Consequently 
they were not ignorant of the sacraments ; for he calls them wise 
men, and would have them judge of what he was about to say. 
Nothing, indeed, could bear a more ludicrous and trifling appearance 
than the sacraments, unless their design and reason were known. 
For what advantage could a gentile, or any one unacquainted with 
that sacrament, suppose to have accrued to an infant by merely 
seeing it baptized? What advantage, in his opinion, would a 
Christian receive by taking a morsel of bread and a few drops of 
wine? Surely nothing could seem more foolish to one who was 
not acquainted with the reason and object of these ceremonies. 
These therefore should not be concealed, but explained to God s 
people ; and the hiding of them is an antichristian device to fill the 
people with a stupid admiration of they know not what. 

I answer, secondly, to the testimonies of the fathers : and, first, 
to Dionysius 1 , whose words are cited from the book of the Ecclesi- 

[! The works of the pseudo- Dionysius were published by Corderius in 
Greek, Paris, 1615. But the last and best edition is that of 1644, printed 
also at Paris with the Defensio Areopagitica of Chaumont. For a full ac 
count compare Daille, de Script. Dion. Areop. Geneva, 1666; and Pearson, 
Vindic. Ignat. par. 1. c. 10.] 


astical Hierarchy, cap. 1, where he admonishes Timotheus, to whom 

he writes, concerning the sacred mysteries, a/ueOeKTo. KCU a^pavra 

~. > .. / PI -* -i ~ / ~ ~ 

Tots arcAecTTots oictTrjpeiV) and lepois JU.OVOLS TWV icpwv KOLVWVGIV 

that is, " that they should not be imparted to the uninitiate, because 
holy things are only to be given to holy persons, and pearls are 
not to be cast to swine." Now, as to this Dionysius, I deny, in the 
first place, that he is the Areopagite mentioned Acts xvii. 34. And 
this I do, not because I feel uneasy at his testimony (for he says no 
more than what Christ himself distinctly enjoins, Matt. vii. 6); but 
because I am led to form this opinion by certain arguments, which 
it is not, at present, needful for me to touch upon. There will be 
another opportunity of speaking about this Dionysius. Secondly, 
I say that his opinion is true and pious, and makes, in no respect, 
against us, as will readily appear to any one who will consider the 
passage. The sense of his words is, that holy things are not to be 
exposed or cast before heathen, gentiles, and profane persons : 
which, indeed, ought to hold as well in the case of the word, as in 
that of the sacraments. But the fathers formerly were much more 
cautious with respect to the sacraments than the word ; because 
heathen and impure men used to deride and despise the sacraments 
much more than the preaching of the word. JS"ow that this is the 
meaning of Dionysius, his scholiast Maximus informs us ; whose 
words are as follows: " It is not fit to reveal the holy things to the 
profane, nor to fling pearls to swine 2 ." But the laity ought not to 
be compared to swine, nor treated as profane, or spectators of the 
Eleusinian mysteries. If they wish to be pious, holy, and faithful, 
they should be acquainted with the design of the mysteries. And 
I make the same answer to the testimony of Basil, which is con 
tained in his treatise, de Sp. S., Lib. n. c. 27 3 . The people cer 
tainly are not bound to feel much indebted to those who think of 
them so meanly and dishonourably as to regard them as swine and 

[ 2 ov 8f1 ra ayia rots /Se/S^Xof? eieffxiivciv, ovfte rovs papyapiras rots xip ls 
piTTTfiv. This scholiast was Maximus the Confessor, who flourished about the 
year 645.] 

[3 a yap ovde eTTOTrreveiv e^eari rols dp-v^TOis, TOVTCOV TTCOS av r^v eiKos TJ)I/ 
fiiSaoTKaAtai/ 6piap,ftevfiv lv ypa^aa-iv. Basil. Opp. T. II. p. 211. B. Which, 
by the way, is a good instance of 0pia/i/3euo> in the sense of openly displaying. 
Cf. Col. ii. 15 ; 2 Cor. ii. 14. I observe another instance in Cabasilas, as 
given in Jahn s Lerefrilchte byzantinischer Theologie, in Ullman s Studien 
und Krit. for 1843, part 3, p. 744, n. 62. dvolv OVTCOV, a 8fj\ov Kadia-TTjo-t KCU 
6pia/j.lBfVt. rbv 


dogs. Chrysostom, Horn. 24, in Matt., and Gregory, Dial. Lib. iv. 
c. 56, contain nothing pertinent to the present question. 

The second argument of our adversaries is grounded upon the 
authority of scripture, namely, Levit. xvi. 17, where the people are 
commanded to remain without and wait for the priest, whilst he 
enters the sanctuary, and offers up prayers alone for himself and 
the people. This is commanded in that passage ; and an example 
of the practice is given Luke i. 10, where we read that the people 
stood without, while Zacharias offered incense in the temple : whence 
it is clear that the people not only did not understand the priest, 
but did not even hear him. Therefore it is considered unnecessary 
that the people should understand the prayers which are offered by 
the priest to God. 

I answer : That the conclusion does not follow from this precept 
and example. For, in the first place, there was an express com 
mandment of God that the people should remain without, and the 
priest alone should offer incense in the sanctuary. Let them, if 
they can, produce any similar command for their Latin liturgy and 
foreign services, and we will yield to their opinion. But they 
cannot ; and, in matters of religion, nothing should be attempted 
without a command. Secondly, this was typical. Therefore the 
same should not now be done ; since all the old types have been 
done away. The priest was in the place of Christ, and represented 
him, who thus went up alone into the sanctuary, that is, into heaven, 
where he now intercedes with God for the church, although we do 
not now see or hear him. I deny that this should now be imitated 
by us ; for typical observances have now no place. Thirdly, the 
people were not able even to hear the absent priest speaking, much 
less to understand what he said : but when the priest spoke in 
presence of the people, he spoke in such a manner as to be under 
stood by all. But the priests of the papists, even under the eyes 
and in the audience of the people, perform and celebrate their 
unholy rites and sacrifices, which are no sacrifices, in a foreign 

Their third argument is that of cardinal Hosius, in his book, 
De Sacro vernac. Legendo, and is to this effect : " Religion and 
piety have been so far from being increased, that they have been 
diminished, since some have begun to use the Vulgar tongue in the 
offices of the church. Therefore they ought rather to be per 
formed and celebrated in the Latin language." 

I answer, in the first place, Though we were to concede the 


truth of what Hosius affirms, it will not follow thence that the public 
service should be performed in Latin, and not in the Vulgar tongue. 
For what if many are made worse? Will it therefore follow that 
vernacular prayers are to be entirely banished ? The doctrine of 
the gospel renders many more perverse and obstinate; yet it ought 
not, on that account, to be concealed from the people. When Christ 
preached and taught the people, the Pharisees were made more 
obstinate ; and the apostle says that the gospel is to some the 
savour of death unto death : and yet nevertheless the gospel should 
always be preached. That reason, therefore, is not a just cause 
why the offices of the church should not be performed in the Vul 
gar tongue, because many are thereby rendered worse ; unless it 
be proved that the vernacular language is the cause of that ill 
effect: which they cannot prove. Secondly, I say that what is 
supposed in the antecedent is untrue. For although there does 
not appear in the people so much superstition as formerly ; yet in 
the reformed churches at the present day the sincerity of true 
religion is more flourishing. The people, indeed, are not so super 
stitious as they were formerly : they then feared everything with 
a certain stupid superstition, which, it must be allowed, repressed, 
however, many crimes. Yet they are now much more religious in 
our churches. For they are deceived, who suppose that there is 
any piety, or virtue, or religion, in blind ignorance or superstition. 
And although there be amongst us many profane persons, such as 
there will never be lacking in the church of God, there are yet 
many who have a true sense of religion. So much upon the 
argument of Hosius. 

The fourth argument is that adduced by Harding 1 in his third 
article against Jewel, sect. 8. which stands thus : "A great part of 
Asia Minor used only the Greek language in their service ; but 
the whole people did not understand Greek. Therefore it is law T 
ful to use an unknown tongue in the public service." 

I answer, firstly, he should prove that all Asia Minor used the 
Greek language in their service ; which since he fails to do, his syl 
logism is composed of merely particular propositions, and therefore 
concludes nothing. Secondly, he should prove his minor. He con- 

[ l " The less Asia, being a principal part of the Greek Church, had then 
the service in the Greek tongue. But the people of sundry regions and 
countries of the less Asia then understood not the Greek tongue ; ergo, the 
people of sundry regions and countries had then their service in an unknown 
tongue." Apud Jewel, Art. in. . 8. p. 272. ut supra.] 


firms it, indeed, by a twofold testimony. The first is taken from 
Acts xiv. 11, where, when Paul had healed a man who was lame 
from his mother s womb, the people are said to have lifted up their 
voice AuKaoviarl, "in the speech of Lycaonia," and to have said, 
" The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men." Hence 
he collects that the whole people of Asia Minor did not understand 
Greek, since the people of Lystra and Derbe, which were two 
cities of Asia Minor, did not speak in Greek but in Lycaonian. I 
answer ; the Lycaonian tongue was not a different language from 
the Greek 1 , but only a different dialect. For Paul did not preach 
the gospel to that people in Lycaonian, but in Greek ; while yet 
the people doubtless understood what he said, as is manifest from 
the instance of the lame man who was cured and converted by 
Paul. If Paul had spoken in Lycaonian, and not in Greek, why 
does Luke write particularly that they uttered this exclamation "in 
the speech of Lycaonia ?" This reasoning, therefore, is the same as 
if he were to say : they spoke Doric, and therefore did not speak 
Greek. Furthermore, that they both understood and spoke Greek, 
is evident from the fact that Amphilochius, a bishop of Lycaonia 2 , 
wrote in Greek, some fragments of whom are extant to this day. 

The second testimony by which he confirms his minor, is 
taken from the second chapter of the Acts, where Cappadocia, 
Pontus, Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, &c., are enumerated as sundry 
regions, and must therefore have used sundry languages. I an 
swer : Some of those tongues which the apostles used, were not 
altogether different and distinct, but only various dialects. So the 
speech which the Galileans used was different from that of the 
Jews ; yet not so as to be another language, but only another dia 
lect. For the maid-servant doubtless understood Peter, who was 
of Galilee, when she said, " Thy speech bewrayeth thee." So a 
Cappadocian could understand a Phrygian speaking, a Pamphylian 

[! We are left to mere conjecture upon this subject. Grotius supposed 
the Lycaonian to be the same as the Cappadocian. Jablonsky determines 
that it was a Greek dialect, but next akin to the Assyrian and thence derived. 
Guhling published a separate dissertation, De Lingua Lycaonica a Pelasgis 
Greeds orta Wittenberg, 1726, in which he contends that the Lycaonian was 
derived from the Greek. See Kuinoel upon Acts xiv. 11.] 

[ 2 i. e. Bishop of Iconium, the capital of Lycaonia. He nourished A. D. 
370. The principal fragments that go under his name were published by 
Combefis, Paris, 1644. But there is an epistle preserved by Cotelerius, in 
his Monumenta, T. n. p. 99, which is supposed to be the only genuine piece 
of his now extant.] 


a Cretan, an Athenian a Spartan. Now that the people of Asia 
Minor understood the Greek language is certain : for Paul wrote 
to the Ephesians, to the Galatians, and to the Colossians in Greek. 
But Ephesus, Galatia, and Colossse, were cities of Asia Minor. There 
fore either all Asia, or a great part of this Asia, understood Greek : 
otherwise Paul would never have written to them in Greek. 
Besides, the same is evident from Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, 
Gregory, bishop of Nyssa, Basil, bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia ; 
who all, though bishops of Asia Minor, wrote all their works in 
Greek. Jerome too, in his second proem to the Epistle to the 
Galatians, affirms that the whole East spoke Greek 3 . The papists 
therefore can never prove that Asia Minor did not use the Greek 
language. Or, if amongst those people some were ignorant of 
Greek, how will they prove that they had their service in the 
Greek language? Hence their argument is inconsequential in 
every possible way of considering it. 

The fifth argument, which some at least advance, is of this 
kind : Three languages were hallowed upon the cross : therefore 
we ought to use only these languages in the public offices of the 
church. And Bellarmine says that we should be content with 
those three languages which Christ honoured upon the cross. 

I answer : In the first place, that title was not written in three 
languages in order that those languages should thereby be conse 
crated to such a use ; but that the report of Christ s death should 
so be diffused as widely as possible. Secondly, this is an allegori 
cal argument, and therefore of itself concludes nothing. Thirdly, 
Cajetan, Jentac. Lib. i. Quaest. 4, says that these three languages 
" were the representatives of all languages 4 ," because the number 
three denotes perfection. If this be so, then all the languages of 
all nations can celebrate the death of Christ, and all the services 
of Christianity. 

The other arguments of the adversary in this question have 
no weight in them whatsoever, and I will not be guilty of seeming 
to waste time in unnecessary disputes. 

[ 3 Excepto sermone Grseco, quo omnis oriens loquitur. T. iv. p. 1. 255.] 
[ 4 Et tribus prsecipuis linguis omnium linguarum vices gerentibus. ex 

ipsius etiam trinarii omnia complectentis perfectione, scribere disposuit. 

Jentacula Novi Testamenti. 27. 2. Paris. 1536.] 

1 7 





LET us now proceed to the establishment of our own opinion, 
whither all those arguments which we used in the former part may 
be referred. For if the scriptures should be read in the vulgar 
tongue, then certainly the rest of the service should be performed 
in the vulgar tongue also. However, we will now use some 
peculiar and separate arguments in this question. 

Our FIRST argument shall be taken from Paul s first epistle to 
the Corinthians, chap. xiv. : in which chapter Paul directs, that 
everything should be done for the edification of the people in the 
church, that no one should speak in a strange tongue without an 
interpreter ; and adds, that he would rather speak five words with 
his understanding, so as to instruct others also, than ten thousand 
words in an unknown tongue. And the whole chapter is spent 
upon this subject. Whence it evidently appears that the popish 
opinion is repugnant to apostolical teaching. We reason thus from 
that chapter against the papists : If prayers in the Latin are 
everywhere to be set forth for the people, then the people will 
not understand what is said. But the apostle expressly forbids 
this in this chapter. Therefore public prayers should not be 
everywhere celebrated in the Latin tongue. However, let us 
weigh the answer of our opponents to this reasoning; who, in 
truth, are wonderfully perplexed at this passage, and have 
devised many contrivances to evade it. 

Some papists reply, that Paul does not speak in that chapter 
of prayers, offices, or stated services, but of exhortations and public 
sermons, which they confess should be delivered in the vulgar 
tongue. But I deny that the meaning of the apostle was merely 
to forbid a strange language in exhortations or sermons. For who 
would have been mad enough to deliver an harangue to the people 
in an unknown tongue ? Who could so much as have hoped that 
the people would be sufficiently attentive to hear with patience and 
civility a man uttering, by the space of an hour or more, words 
which they did not understand? We read that some persons for 
merly in the church preached in a foreign tongue, but we read also 
that there were at the same time interpreters at hand. But this is 
quite another matter. I allow, indeed, that the apostle does men- 


tion sermons; for it is with such a reference that he says, verse 
29, " Let the prophets speak (XaXeiTcoo-av) by two or three, and 
the rest judge :" but that this is his whole subject, upon which he 
is entirely engaged throughout that chapter, I deny. For how are 
we to understand what is said ver. 14, " If I pray in an unknown 
tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful?" 
Besides he speaks of services to which the people answer Amen. 
Now the people use not to do this to sermons. He mentions also 
giving of thanks and praising God. Nay, the fathers themselves, 
Chrysostom, Theophylact, Ambrose, CEcumenius, and all who have 
well explained this chapter, confess that Paul speaks not only of 
exhortations and sermons, but also of public prayers. Yea, Hard 
ing, Art. iii. Sect. 18 1 , allows that it was needful in the primitive 
church that prayers should be held in the vulgar and intelligible 
tongue, but contends that it is now no longer requisite. But now 
the papists, become more learned, choose another mode of answer 
ing. They confess, indeed, that the apostle speaks of public prayers; 
but they deny it to be requisite that the whole people should un 
derstand the prayers which the minister repeats ; for they say it 
is sufficient if one only, whom they commonly call the clerk, un 
derstand them, who is to answer Amen in behalf of the whole 
congregation. They prove this from those words of the apostle, 
at verse 16, " If thou shalt bless with the spirit, how (says the old 
edition) shall he who supplies the place of the unlearned answer 
Amen?" Thus Stapleton, in his English book against Jewel, Art. iii. 
Thus a certain papist, who hath made an epitome of Bellarmine s 
Lectures. So Thomas Aquinas. So Catharinus. So Sixtus Se- 
nensis, Bibliothec. Lib. vi. Annot. 263. 

I answer : In the first place, the Latin vulgate version is false 
and foolish, and does not agree with the Greek text. For TOTTOS 
never means the person of those represented ; and ava.7r\r)povv is 
to fill, not to supply. So that the meaning is not, " he who sup 
plies the place of the people/ as the old Latin edition renders it ; 
but, " he who occupies the room, and sits amongst the laity," 
that is, he who is himself a layman and one of the common people. 
For formerly the minister did not sit promiscuously with the 

t 1 18 is a misprint for 28. Harding s words are : "But St Paul, say they, 
requireth that the people give assent and conform themselves unto the 
priest, by answering amen to his prayer made in the congregation. Verily, 
in the primitive church this was necessary, when the faith was a-learning." 
Ap. Jewel, p. 317, ut supra.] 



people, but in a place separate from tlie people and the rest of 
the multitude. This is what is referred to by the phrase, avawXri- 
povv TOV TOTTOV TOV iSicoTov. And thus it is that Chrysostom, 
Theophylact, and GEcumenius interpret this place. CEcumenius 
says that he fills the place of the unlearned, who els iSiwrrjv reXeT, 
is ranked as an unlearned person; and immediately subjoins, 
"he calls him unlearned who is ranged in the rank of laymen 1 ." 
Secondly, I say that there was no such person in the ancient 
church as they call a clerk, but that the whole congregation together 
answered Amen. So Jerome, in his second prologue to his com 
mentary on the Galatians : " The whole church," says he, " re 
plies with a thundering Amen 2 ." A single clerk, unless he be a 
Stentor, cannot answer thus. So Chrysostom, as is manifest from 
his liturgy, if indeed it be his, and not rather the work of some 
body else published under his name 3 . So Cyprian, in his discourse 
upon the Lord s prayer : " When the minister," says he, " hath 
said, Lift up your heart/ the whole people answer, We lift them 
up unto the Lord 4 . " But most plainly of all Justin Martyr, in his 
Second Apology for the Christians: was o Xaos eTre^^^el A/u^V 5 
" the whole people reply in token of assent, Amen." These 
words, therefore, are not to be understood of such an imaginary 
clerk, answering in the name of the whole people, as the papists 
would have it. 

But the Jesuit Bellarmine, and lately our countrymen, the 
Rhemists, following his example, do not venture to trust to this 
answer, and therefore have invented another. They say that the 
apostle does not speak at all of divine service, or the public read 
ing of the scripture, but of certain spiritual songs, which were 
wholly extraordinary, and in which the Christians of those times 
used to praise God, and give him thanks, and edify and comfort 
one another. These, they say, are mentioned, Ephes. v. 19 and 
Coloss. iii. 16, where the apostle bids the Christians to whom he 

[* I8i<>rr]v Aey rov lv TW XaiVfO) ray/zart TZTa.-yp.evov. T. I. p. 560. Com- 
mentt. in N. T. Paris. 1631.] 

[ 2 Tota ecclesia instar tonitrui reboat Amen, ut supra."] 

[ 3 See the excellent remarks of "the ever-memorable" Hales, at the end 
of the article Chrysostom, in Cave s Historia Literaria.] 

[ 4 Ideo et sacerdos ante orationem prsefatione prsemissa parat fratrum 
mentes dicendo, Sursum corda ; ut dum respondet plebs, Habemus ad Domi- 
num, &c. p. 152, ed. Fell. Amstel. 1691.] 

[5 p. 98. E. Opp. Colon. 1686, or Paris, 1636.] 


writes, to speak to each other " in psalms and hymns, and spiritual 
songs, singing and making melody in their hearts to the Lord;" 
and that such songs are spoken of in this chapter, ver. 26, where 
the apostle says, " when ye come together," e/cao-rcs vnwv \j/aA/xoj/ 
1, " each of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, 
hath a revelation : let all things be done unto edification."" Finally, 
that Tertullian mentions these in his Apology, c. 39 6 , and also 
other fathers : and that this cannot be understood of the public 
offices and prayers, because the public prayers at Corinth were 
then celebrated in the Greek language, which was understood by 
all, and no strange tongue ; which Paul must have remembered 
very well. 

I answer : The apostle, I confess, speaks of those songs, and I 
am not unaware of the existence of such hymns formerly amongst 
Christians : but the apostle does not speak of them alone. For 
he expressly mentions prayers, ver. 14, eav Trpoaevyw/nai Ty 
yXwaarj, " If I pray in an unknown tongue." And although the 
Corinthian church then used the Greek language in the service of 
God, it does not therefore follow that these words of the apostle 
are not to be understood of the public offices and service. Cer 
tainly the whole discourse of the apostle is general. He speaks 
generally and in common of all the offices of the church, and 
condemns, on general grounds, the use of an unknown tongue in 
the church, whether in sermons, or in prayers, or in songs. And 
the first ground is this : an unknown tongue is useless ; therefore 
it ought not to be used in the church. The antecedent is proved, 
verse 2, where he says, " He that speaketh in an unknown tongue 
speaketh not to men, but to God ; for no man understandeth him : 
howbeit in the Spirit he speaketh mysteries." O \a\wi> <y\u)crcrri 9 
" he that speaketh in a tongue," that is, an unknown tongue, says 
Thomas Aquinas 7 ; "for no man heareth," that is, no one under 
stands him. But in the church one should speak so as that not God 
alone, but men also may understand him. This he proves also in 
the sixth verse, where he says, " If 1 should come to you speaking 
with tongues" (though innumerable), "what shall I profit you?" as 
much as to say, you will derive no advantage whatever from my 
discourse. And, verse 9, he says, eav /mrj euar/iuov \oyov SWTC, 
" unless ye utter with the tongue words easy to be understood, how 

[ 6 Post aquam manualem et lumina, ut quisque de scripturis sanctis vel 
de proprio ingenio potest, provocatur in medium Deo canere. Apolog. c. 39. 
p. 112. Opp. Tertull. Part 1. ed. Leopold. Lipsiae. 1839.] 

[ 7 Comment, in loc.j 


shall it be understood what is spoken ?" evevOe yap els aepa 
\a\ovvT$ 9 " for ye shall be as if speaking into the air." From 
these passages it is manifest that the apostle s meaning is this, that 
whatever is spoken in the church in an unknown tongue is spoken 
fruitlessly and in vain. 

But the Jesuit and the Rhemists, setting themselves in open 
opposition to the apostle, affirm that prayers, even when they 
are not understood, are very edifying, although perhaps they 
may be more edifying when they are understood. But the 
apostle s words are clear, and must always be pressed upon 
them, " What shall I profit you?" as if he had said, I cannot be 
any way of use to you. So GEcumenius interprets those words, 
OUK ecrofjLai v/uuv 7rw<p\*is. And " ye shall be speaking into the 
air," that is, fruitlessly and in vain : for so CEcumenius, ^arr\v 
KOI avuxpeXws. So also Chrysostom, in his 35th Homily upon 
this chapter : " Ye depart," says he, " ovSev KepSavavres, deriving 
no advantage from a sound which ye do not understand 1 ." But let 
us hear how the Jesuit proves that a prayer, though not under 
stood, is useful to the people. Attend to his beautiful reason. The 
minister, says he, or priest, does not pray to the people, but to God 
for the people. Therefore, it is not necessary that the people 
should understand what he says, but it is sufficient that God him 
self understands him. Now he understands all languages. This 
he illustrates by a comparison. As, says he, if one were to inter 
cede with a king for a rustic, it is not necessary that the rustic 
should understand what his patron says to the king in his behalf, 
nor does he much care, provided only he obtain what he seeks ; so 
it is not requisite that the people should understand those prayers 
which the minister presents to God in their name. Besides, the 
church prays even for the infidels and the absent. I answer, this 
reasoning of the Jesuit is inconsequential ; and it is a bad argument 
to say, prayer is not made to the people, but to God for the people; 
therefore it is not necessary that the people should understand what 
the minister prays. For the minister is, as it were, the people s 
mouth. He prays, indeed, to God, but yet for the people ; and 
although the people remain silent in their lips, while the minister 
prays, yet meanwhile they follow him, as he prays, in their hearts, 
and respond at the close, Amen ; by which expression they shew 

f 1 *O Se Xe yei TOVTO earnv . . . . y\O)TTa>v a>v dicov(ravTes ovftev Kfpbdvavrfs arre- 
\va-crde. TTWS yap UTTO (^coz^s-, ys ov crvviere ; Chrys. Opp. T. X. p. 233. The 
Homilies on 1 Cor. are to be found in T. iv. of Saville s ed., and T. x. of the 
Paris edition of Fronto Ducreus, 1613.] 


that the prayer is their own, and signify that they ask from God 
whatever the minister himself hath asked. Otherwise, if the peo 
ple did not pray along with the minister, it would not be necessary 
for the people to be present, or assemble in the same place with the 
minister, but the minister alone might pray for the people to God 
in their absence. But prayers are public, that is, prayers of the 
whole church. We see, therefore, that it is a foolish comparison 
which the Jesuit uses. For if the rustic, of whom he speaks, 
were to hear his advocate pleading his cause before the king in an 
unknown tongue, and speaking words which he did not understand, 
he might suspect that he was rather speaking against him than for 
him. So the people, when they hear the minister pray in an un*- 
known tongue, may doubt whether he prays for them, or for others, 
or against them. What if even the priest himself do not under 
stand what he is saying ? the possibility of which experience hath 
taught in the case of many priests of the Roman church. 

But the apostle, at verse 14, blames altogether all use of an 
unknown tongue in public prayers : " If I should pray," says he, 
" in a tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is un 
fruitful." And it is plain that he there speaks of public prayers ; 
first, because, verse 19, he says, ev rrj eKKXrjcriq, in the church; 
secondly, because he speaks of such prayers as the people said 
Amen to, as a token of their assent, as is plain from verse 16 ; 
which is only done when the people are assembled together in 
one place. Therefore, unless the prayer be understood, the un 
derstanding will be cLKapiros, unfruitful ; that is, no advantage 
will accrue to the church from the conceptions of your under 
standing. The Jesuit and the papists give a wrong and foolish 
interpretation of that whole fourteenth verse, to this effect: "If 
I pray in a tongue, my mind or my understanding is not in 
structed, because indeed it does not understand what I say : but 
meanwhile my spirit, that is, my affections," so they expound 
it, "are edified." For example, says Bellarmine, if one were to 
recite the seven psalms, and not to understand what he was 
reciting, his understanding is not improved, yet his affections mean 
while are improved. The sum, therefore, of this interpretation is 
this : if I pray in an unknown tongue, although I do not under 
stand the words, yet my affections are thereby made better. 

I answer, in the first place, this is an utterly ridiculous inter 
pretation. For he who recites any prayers or psalms in a language 
which he does not understand, is no more improved than if he had 
not recited them at all. His good affection, or desire of praying, is 


not assisted by reading he knows not what. But if the affections of 
him who prays in an unknown tongue be good, and his reason no 
way benefited, because he does not understand his prayer; why 
does he not use a language with which he is acquainted, that he 
may derive a double advantage, both to his affections and to his un 
derstanding? Secondly, the papists themselves confess that prayers 
expressed in a language known and understood are more useful and 
advantageous. Why then do they not pray in a known tongue ? 
For prayers should be made in that manner in which they are 
likely to be most useful to us. Now that prayers, when under 
stood, are more useful than prayers not understood, the Jesuit con 
cedes ; and so does Harding, as may be seen, Art. m. Sect. 29. l 
And De Lyra also, upon 1 Cor. xiv., says that the people, if they 
understand the prayer of the priest, are " better brought to God, 
and answer Amen with more devotion." If this be, as indeed it is, 
most true, we see that there are very just reasons why the people 
should understand their prayers : and yet Stapleton was not ashamed 
in his English book against the very learned Jewel to say, Art. m. 
p. 75, that devotion is not assisted, but impeded, when the language 
is known and understood. Thirdly, since it is certain that prayer 
is a mode of speech, is it not ridiculous to pray in an unknown 
tongue ? Who is there so destitute of common sense, as to choose, 
especially in the presence of others, to speak in such a language as 
either he himself is ignorant of, or the audience do not understand? 
Whence CEcumenius upon this chapter distinctly affirms prayer to be 
a kind of speech : Trjoocref^i), says he, GOTLV el&>9 TI TOV \oyov 
and he interprets verse 14 thus : If I speak anything necessary 
and good, and expound it not to my audience, my spirit prays, 
that is, I myself derive some advantage ; but my understanding is 
unfruitful, that is, the conceptions of my understandimg bring no 
advantage to others. Hence it is manifest that the sense of these 
words is very different from what they suppose. So Chrysostom 
expounds this passage ; and Basil most expressly and plainly of all, 
in his Epitome of Definitions, Def. 278, " My understanding is un 
fruitful, because no one is benefited :" and he adds, that this is 
spoken of them who " pray in an unknown tongue." I will subjoin 
the words, because they are very remarkable : TOVTO Trepl rwv ev 

ayvoovfjiei r} TO? CIKOVOVGI Tas 
brav yap ayvcocrra fi rols Trapovori TO. pruaara Ttjs 

[* " I grant they cannot say Ainen* to the blessing or thanksgiving of 
the priest so well as if they understood the Latin tongue perfectly." Apud 
Jewel, ut supra, p. 318.] 



In which words Basil distinctly affirms, that no benefit whatever can 
redound to the people from prayers which they do not understand. 
So Augustine, Zte Genesi ad Liter. Lib. xn. c. 8. " No one," 
says he, " is edified by hearing what he does not understand 3 ." 
Therefore from words not understood no fruit follows ; and hence 
it is manifest, that all their prayers are unfruitful and odious 
to God. 

But here the Jesuit urges us with many allegations to prove 
that prayers, although not understood, are nevertheless useful to us. 
These we must examine severally. First, he says, that the figures 
and ceremonies of the old law were useful to the Jewish people, 
although they did not understand them. I answer : In the first 
place, let the Jesuit produce any such express command of God for 
having prayers in a tongue not understood as the Jews had for 
those ceremonies. Secondly, although the Jews did not understand 
the figures and ceremonies of the law so clearly as we now under 
stand them, yet they were not wholly ignorant of them ; and there 
were Levites from whom they could easily learn the whole design 
of their ceremonies, so as to understand it. 

The Jesuit s second objection is taken from Augustine, de 
Baptism, contra Donat. Lib. vi. c. 25 4 , where he says that those 
prayers, which have something heretical mingled with them, may 
yet be profitable to one who recites them in simplicity, not know 
ing what he says, and supposing that he prays rightly : whence 
the Jesuit infers that still more may good and holy prayers be 
beneficial to the people, although the people do not understand 
them. I answer : In the first place, we are not obliged to say 
anything now of those prayers which the church of Rome is wont 
to use ; for many heretical matters might be pointed out in them. 
Secondly, Augustine does not speak of such prayers as are made 
in an unknown tongue, but of those in which something heretical 
is found mixed, which however is not perceived by those who use 
the prayers. This, he says, will be no way prejudicial to them, 
provided their intentions be pure; because, as he expresses it, 
"the affection of the suppliant overcomes the fault of the prayer 5 ." 
But what is this to the present question ? 

[ 2 p. 641. B. T. n. Opp. Paris. 1618.] 

[3 Nemo sedificatur audiendo quod non intelligit. T. in. p. 302.] 

[ 4 Augustin. Opp. T. ix. p. 176.] 

[ 3 Quia plerumque precis vitium superat affectus precantis.] 


The third objection of the Jesuit is taken from Origen s 
twentieth Homily upon Joshua : " We often, indeed, do not un 
derstand what we utter, yet the Virtues understand it 1 ." So, 
says the Jesuit, though the people do not understand the prayers 
which the priest utters, yet the Virtues understand them. I an 
swer : Origen, in that place, does not speak of prayers, but of the 
reading of the scriptures ; where he meets an objection which the 
laity are accustomed to make : the scriptures are difficult, and 
transcend our comprehension; therefore we need not read them. 
Now, although (says Origen) we often do not understand what 
we read, yet the Virtues understand it. 

The Jesuit s fourth objection is to this effect : If the people 
should use no prayers which they do not understand, then they 
should never recite the Psalms and the Prophets. I answer : The 
case of scripture is different from that of prayer. We must peruse 
the whole scripture, although we are not masters of its meaning, in 
order that we may, in the first place, understand the words, and 
then from the words be able to proceed to the sense. But we 
should only pray what we know ; because prayer is a colloquy with 
God, and springs from our understanding. For we ought to know 
what we say, and not merely, as the Jesuit pretends, know that 
what we do appertains to the honour of God. Secondly, the 
reason why we understand so little when we read, is to be found 
in our own fault, and not in any obscurity of scripture. 

The Jesuit s fifth and last objection is taken from St Antony, 
as reported by Cassian, who says that prayer is then perfect when 
the mind is so affected, while we pray, as not itself to understand 
its own words. I answer : I wonder how this, be it what it may, 
can be made to serve the cause in hand. For Antony does not 
say that we should pray in an unknown tongue ; but that, when 
we pray, we should not fix our attention on the words, but have 
the mind absorbed, as it were, in divine meditation, and occupied 
in thoughts about the things rather than the words. If the feelings 

[! The Greek is preserved in the Philocalia, c. 12, p. 40, ed. Spencer. 
Ei(n yap rives dwdfj-fis Iv ijfuv, a>v al p.ev Kpfirrovcs dia TOVTUV r&v olovel eVopScai/ 
rpefpovrai, vvyyevels ov(rai avTais, KCU, r/fj-wv prj voovvrwv, eiceivas ras ftvvd/jicis, 
voova-as ra Aryd/zem, dwarcorepas eV r\}u.v yivea-dai. The whole chapter is a very 
curious discourse, in which Origen suggests that the mere words of scripture 
may have a beneficial effect, after the manner of a spell, upon the man who 
reads them, through certain spiritual powers which he supposes to be in 
intimate contact with our souls. The same passage is to be found in 
Huetius Origen, T. I. p. 27. C.] 


be sincere, we need not doubt but that the Holy Spirit will suggest 
and dictate words to us, and guide us in our prayers. 

Thus then what this argument of the apostle s proves remains 
unshaken, that all prayers made in an unknown tongue are un 

The second general argument of the apostle is taken from those 
words which are contained in ver. 11 : " If I know not the meaning 
of the voice, I shall be to him that speaketh a barbarian, and he 
that speaketh shall be a barbarian to me." Therefore, if the 
minister shall pray in an unknown tongue, he and the congregation 
shall be barbarians to each other. Now this should not be in the 
church, that the minister should be a barbarian to the people, or 
the people to the minister. Therefore, the minister ought not to 
pray in an unknown tongue. The Jesuit does not touch this argu 
ment. The Rhemists pretend that the apostle does not here mean 
the three learned languages, that is, the Hebrew, Greek, and 
Latin, but others. They contend, therefore, that not he who 
speaks Latin, when the people do not understand it, is a barbarian ; 
but he who speaks English, French, Spanish, or any vulgar tongue 
which is not understood by the audience. I answer, that the 
apostle speaks in general of all languages, which the people do not 
understand. " If I speak in a tongue/ says he, that is, in an un 
known tongue, whatever it be. For those who speak with the 
greatest purity and elegance 5 if they speak not what the people 
understand, are barbarians to the people. Even Cicero himself or 
Demosthenes shall be barbarians, if they harangue the people in an 
unknown tongue which the people do not understand, however 
sublimely they may discourse. Thus also, if the people know not 
the Latin tongue, whoever uses it shall be a barbarian to them, 
since they are not able to judge of it. The poet Ovid, when 
banished to Pontus, says of himself, Trist. Lib. v. Eleg. II 2 : 

Barbaras hie ego sum, quia non intelligor ulli. 

Anacharsis, when an Athenian reproachfully called him a barbarian, 
is said to have replied : " And ye Athenians are barbarians to the 
Scythians :" e/uol iravTes EXX^i es crKvOi^ovcri. So Theodoret, 
Therapeut. Orat. Lib. v. ; in which same place he observes that this 
is what St Paul says, " I shall be to him that speaketh a barbarian 3 ." 
Though men were to talk Attic, yet Anacharsis truly pronounces 

[ 2 Trist. Lib. v. Eleg. x. 36.] 

[ 3 ToOro yap drf^i/wy eotKe rots eipT/^ei/ois VTTO rov ^pcrepov O-KVTOTO^OV K.r.X. 
p. 81. 1. 53. ed. Sylburg. 1592.] 


them barbarians to the Scythians, because the Scythians know- 
nothing of the Attic tongue. And Cicero, in the fifth book of his 
Tusculan Questions says : " In those languages which we understand 
not, we are just the same as deaf 1 . * If deaf, then certainly it is 
not too much to say barbarians. Chrysostom interprets this pas 
sage in precisely the same way, and says that the word barbarian 
is used "not in reference to the nature of the speech, but with 
reference to our ignorance 2 ." And so also CEcumenius. But, to 
silence our Rhemists with the testimony of papists, Catharinus writes 
thus upon the place : " He is here called a barbarian, whose tongue 
is so diverse that he cannot be understood : for whoever is not 
understood is a barbarian to the auditor 3 ." Then he produces the 
verse of Ovid which we cited just now. He determines, therefore, 
that the popish priests are barbarians to the people, however they 
speak Latin. How well they speak it, makes no difference in this 
case. Certainly they do not speak better Latin than Ovid, who yet 
says that he was a barbarian to the people of Pontus. Now we 
have said enough upon this place of the apostle against the Jesuit 
and the Rhemists. 

Next comes our SECOND argument, which is taken from other 
words of the apostle in this same chapter. All things, says he, 
1 Cor. xiv. 40, should be done in the church " decently and in 
order," Kara TGL^LV. Now it is most grossly repugnant to good 
order, that the minister should pray in an unknown tongue. For 
so the people, though assembled for public prayer, are compelled to 
pray, not publicly, but privately : and the custom hath prevailed in 
the popish churches, that the people recite none but private prayers 
in the church where public prayer is required. Yea, thus not only 
the people, but the minister, who ought to offer up the public 
prayers, utters only private ones : for the people, since they do 
not understand the liturgy, do not pray publicly ; and, consequently, 
the minister must needs pray alone by himself. For it does not 
presently follow that prayers are public, because they are made in 
a public place ; but those are public, which are made by the united 
desires and wills of the whole church. Hence the minister should 

[! Omnesque itidem nos in iis linguis quas non intelligimus surdi pro- 

fecto sumus. c. xi. 1. Opp. Ciceron. T. vin. p. 559. ed. Lallemand. Paris- 

1768. Barbou.] 

[ 2 Ov Trapa TT}I/ (pixriv rrjs (putvrjs a\\a rrapa rrjv TJp.eTfpava. yvoiav. T. VI. p. 477.] 
[ 3 Barbarus hoc in loco is dicitur, qui linguae differt varietate, ut non 

intelligatur : quilibet enim qui non intelligitur barbarus est illi qui audit. 

p. 193. Paris. 1566.] 


not pray in the church in an unknown tongue, because he, in so 
doing, makes that private which ought to have been public, and 
violates good order. 

Our THIRD argument is to this effect : The papists themselves 
know and concede that the Armenians, Egyptians, Muscovites and 
Ethiopians perform their services in the vulgar tongue, and hold 
their prayers in their own native languages. Why then, if they do 
right, should not other churches do the same? But the Jesuit 
objects, that they are either heretics or schismatics ; and that, 
therefore, it is no great matter what they do. I answer, that 
there are, indeed, in those churches many and great errors ; yet 
neither more nor greater than in the church of Rome. These 


churches are condemned by the papists, because they will not 
submit to the Roman pontiff, or hold any such communion with 
him. They are extensive churches, and perhaps more extensive 
than the popish party, however they boast of their extension. All 
these are ignorant of the Latin tongue, and use their own language 
in their services; and in this matter we would rather resemble 
them than the papists. The same is the case of the Indians, as 
Eckius testifies in his common places : " We deny not that it is 
permitted to the southern Indians to perform divine service in 
their own language; which custom their clergy still observe 4 ." 

Our FOURTH argument stands thus: .^Eneas Sylvius, in his book 
on the origin of the Bohemians, c. XIIL, relates, that Cyril and 
Methodius allowed the Moravians to use their own language in 
their service 5 . I ask, therefore, why the same might not be 
allowed to other churches ? or why other churches should not do 
that which they know to be advantageous to them ? The Jesuit 
objects, that Cyril and Methodius converted all the Moravians to 
gether to the faith, and that there was just cause then for that 
permission, because ministers could not be found competent to 
perform the service in Latin. I answer, if this were needful at 
first, then it follows that the service may be performed in the 

[ 4 Non negamus Indis australibus permission ut in lingua sua rem divi- 
nam facerent, quod clerus eorum hodie observat. c. xxxiv. Colon. 1532.] 

[ 5 Referunt Cyrillum, cum Romse ageret, Romano pontifici supplicasse ut 
Sclavorum lingua ejus gentis hominibus, quam baptizaverat, rem divinam 
faciens uti posset. De qua re dum in sacro senatu disputaretur, essentque 
non pauci contradictores, auditam vocem tanquam de coelo in hsec verba 
missam : " Omnis spiritus laudet Dominum, et omnis lingua confiteatur ei." 
Indeque datum Cyrillo indultum. JEn. Sylv. Hist. Bohem. c. xiii. p. 91. Basil. 


vulgar tongue ; which he had before said ought not to be done, 
because the dignity of the sacred offices requires a more majestic 
language. If this be a good reason, there can be no just cause for 
performing them in the vernacular. What he adds about the lack 
of ministers is an invention of his own. 

Our FIFTH argument is taken from the authority of the emperor 
Justinian; who (Lib. de cap. Eccl. c. 123) l orders that the minister 
in the church should pronounce every thing with a clear voice, in 
order that the people may hear and answer Amen. Harding 2 , 
Art. HI. Sect. 14, objects, firstly, that Justinian speaks of a " clear 
voice," to let us know that it is vocal, and not mental, prayers that 
are required. But I answer, the reason subjoined removes all 
doubt on that score ; for he adds, that the people may hear, and 
be inflamed to devotion, and answer Amen. Secondly, he objects 
that this rule was only enjoined upon the Greeks, not on others. 
I answer : Justinian was not merely emperor of Greece, but of all 
Europe; and therefore he proposed his laws not only to the 
prelates of Constantinople, but to those of Rome also, as is manifest 
from that same chapter : " We order, therefore, the most blessed 
archbishops and patriarchs, that is to say, of old Rome and of Con 
stantinople 3 :" where expressly and by name he prescribes rules to 
the bishop of Rome. Thirdly, he objects that these words are not 
found in ancient copies. 1 answer, they are, however, found in all 
the Greek copies, which are more to be trusted than the Latin 
ones. And Gregory Holoander hath them also in his Latin ver 
sion, who certainly faithfully translated the Greek text. 

Our SIXTH and last argument is founded upon the authority and 
testimony of the fathers. First, Basil the Great, in Ep. 63, to the 
clergy of the church of Neocaosarsea, writes thus : "As the day 
dawns, all together, as with one voice and one heart, offer a Psalm 
of confession to the Lord, and each in his own words professes re 
pentance." And lest any should suppose that this was spoken only 
of the Greeks, he subjoins : " These constitutions are observed with 
one accord by all the churches of God." There follows also in the 
same place : " If on account of these you fly from us, you must fly 
also the Egyptians, either Lybia, the Thebeans, the Palestinians, 
the Arabians, the Phoenicians, the Syrians, and those who dwell 

[i Justinian. Novell. Const. 137 (or 123) pp. 409, 10. Basil. 1561.] 
[ 2 Ap. Jewel, p. 284, ut supra.] 

[ 3 K\vo[j,V roivvv Toys fj-dKapiaTaTOVS apxicTTio-KOTTOVs Ka\ 
rian rrjs Trpeo-fivrfpas 


upon the Euphrates ; in a word, all who have any value for watch 
ing, and prayer, and common psalmody;" nap ofs aypvTrviai, 
KCU Trpoa ev ^aij KOI a\ KOIVO.I \J/aAjua>ctcu T6Ti/u.r]VTai*. To the 
same effect it is that this same Basil (Horn. 4. in Hexaem. at the 
end) compares the church to the sea: for as (says he) the waves 
roar when driven upon the coast, so the church " sends forth the 
mingled sound of men and women and children in prayer to God 5 ." 

We perceive, therefore, that it was the custom of the primitive 
church for the whole people to combine their desires and assent 
with the prayers of the minister, and not, as is with the papists 
(amongst whom the priest alone performs his service in an unknown 
tongue), to remain silent, or murmur their own indefinite private 
prayers to themselves. Ambrose hath a similar sentence, Hexaem. 
Lib. in. 6 Augustine, in his book de Magistro, c. 1, says that we 
should pray with the heart, because the sacrifice of righteousness 
is offered "in the temple of the mind and in the chambers of the 
heart. Wherefore," says he, " there is no need of speech, that is, 
of audible words, when we pray, unless, as in the case of the 
priests, for the sake of denoting what we mean 7 ." But why then 
must we speak ? Augustine answers, " not that God, but that 

[ 4 HfJifpas ijdij viro\ap.nov(Tr]s^ rrdvrfs Koivf), as e cv&s o-Toparos KOI ptas 
AcapStaff, TOV rrjs e ^o/zoXoyjyo-ecos ^ di/a<pepovcri r<5 Kupt cp, iSta eaurcov 
fKaaros TO. p?7/zara rfjs p,eravoLas TroiovfJicvoi . . . eVi TOVTOIS \OITTOV el r^as O.TTO- 
(frevyere, (pev^eo-Qe fj.ev AlyvTrriovs, <peueo-$e 8e KCU Aiflvas dp(poTepovs, QrjPaiovs, 
IIaX<u(rriVou9, "Apaftas, QoiviKas, Supous, KOI TOVS Trpos roi ~Ev(ppdrfi KUTUKI- 
<rp,evovs, KOI Travras a.Traa.Tr\5>s K.r.X. Basil. Opp. Paris. 1618. T. II. p. 844. A. 
The clause, I Sia eavrwv, &c., should rather be rendered, "each making the 
words of repentance his own:" but in the text the common Latin version 
quoted by Whitaker is followed, "Suis quisque verbis resipiscentiam pro- 

[ 5 fi Se $aXacr(7a KaX) KOI eTratj/eri} rw f<5, Trwy ov%\ KaXXiaw KK\r)(rias 
ToiavTrjs avXXoyos, ev r] (rvp.[juyris rjx os > L V TWOS Kv^aros tfiovi 7Tpo(r<pfpo[Mvov, 
dvdpwv Kol yvvaiKcov KCU vrjTriaiv Kara ras npos Qebv rjjjiav Berjo-ecs eWe/ATrerat ; 
Ibid. T. I. p. 53. D.] 

[ 6 Quid aliud ille concentus undarum, nisi quidam coricentus est plebis ? 
Unde bene mari plerumque comparatur ecclesia, quse primo ingredientis 
populi totis vestibulis undas vomit; deinde, in oratione totius plebis tan- 
quam undis refluentibus stridet, cum responsoriis psalmorum, cantus viro- 
rum, mulierum, virginum, parvulorum, consonas undarum fragor resultat. 
Hexaem. m. cap. v. 23. Opp. Ambros. Paris. 1836. Pars I, p. 97.] 

[? Quare non opus est locutione cum oramus, id est, sonantibus verbis, 
nisi forte sicut sacerdotes faciunt, significandse mentis suse causa. T. I. 
col. 542.] 


men may hear us." But why ought men to hear us ? " In order," 
says Augustine, " that they, being moved to consent by our sug 
gestion, may have their minds fixed upon God." But the people 
cannot be thus fixed upon God by the suggestion of the priest, un 
less they understand what is suggested by the priest. This consent 
depends upon the suggestion; but a suggestion without being un 
derstood is vain and futile. The same Augustine writes thus, in 
his second exposition of Psalm xviii. : " Since we have prayed the 
Lord to cleanse us from our secret faults, and spare his servants 
from strange ones, we ought to understand what this is, so as to 
sing with human reason, and not, as it were, with the voice of 
birds. For blackbirds," says he, " and parrots, and crows and 
magpies, and such like birds, are frequently taught by men to 
utter sounds which they do not understand. But to sing with 
the understanding is granted by the divine will, not to birds, but 
to men 1 ." Thus Augustine ; whence we perceive that the people, 
when they sing or pray what they do not understand (as is the 
custom everywhere in the church of Rome) are more like black 
birds, or parrots, or crows, or magpies, or such like birds, which 
are taught to utter sounds which they understand not, than to men. 
Thus Augustine deems it absurd and repugnant to the common 
prudence of mankind, that the people should not understand their 
prayers; which we see taking place everywhere in the popish sy 
nagogues. And the same Augustine, upon Psalm Ixxxix. : " Blessed 
is the people which understand the joyful sound. Let us hasten 
to this blessedness ; let us understand the joyful sound, and not 
pour it forth without understanding." 

Chrysostom, in his 35th Horn, upon 1 Corinthians, says, 
that he who speaks in an unknown tongue is not only "useless 
(X/^" ros ) anc ^ a Barbarian 2 " to others, but even to himself, if he 
do not understand what he says ; and that if he understand it, but 
others not, small fruit can be gained by the rest from his words. 

[ l Deprecati Dominum ut ab occultis mundet nos, et ab alienis parcat 
servis suis, quid hoc sit intelligere debemus, ut humana ratione, non quasi 
avium voce, cantemus. Nam et meruli et psittaci et corvi et picse et hujus- 
modi volucres ssepe ab homiiiibus docentur sonare quod nesciunt. Scientes 
autem cantare non avi, sed homini, divina vpluntate concessa est. T. iv. 
c. 8. The reference is to the vulgate version of Psal. xix. 12, 13. Ab oc 
cultis meis munda me, et ab alienis parce servo tuo : which follows the LXX. 
UTTO aXAorpiW falaai rov 8ov\ov vov. They read D H-ID for 

[2 Tom. x. p. 323.] 


Ambrose says upon 1 Cor. xlv. : " If ye come together for the 
edification of the church, the things spoken should be such as the 
auditors may understand 3 ." Jerome upon 1 Cor. xiv. says : "Every 
speech is deemed barbarous that is not understood." The Latin, 
therefore, is barbarous to those who understand it not, that is, to 
the whole common people of all nations : and when the apostle 
condemns a barbarous speech in the church, he plainly condemns 
the use of the Latin tongue in the service. Cassiodorus upon Psalm 
xlvi. : " When we raise a psalm, we should not only sing, but 
understand it. For no one can do that wisely which he does not 
understand 4 ." Isidore of Seville, de Eccles. Offic. Lib. i. c. 10 : 
" It is fitting that when the psalms are sung, they should be sung 
by all ; when prayers are made, they should be made by all ; when 
the lesson is read, all keeping silence, it should equally be heard 
by all 5 ." The fathers of the council of Aix, c. 132, say that, of 
those who sing in the church " the mind should be in concord with 
the voice;" and, in the following chapter, that such should read, 
chant, and sing in the church, " as by the sweetness of their reading 
and melody may both charm the learned and instruct the illi 
terate 6 ." Jacobus Faber, in his Commentary upon 1 Cor. xiv., 
hath these words : " The greatest part of the world now, when 
they pray, I know not whether they pray with the spirit, but 
they certainly do not with the understanding ; for they pray in a 
tongue which they do not understand. Yet Paul approves most 
that the faithful should pray both with the spirit and the under 
standing ; and those who pray so, as is the general practice, edify 
themselves but little by the prayer, and cannot edify others at all 
by their speech 7 ." And Cardinal Cajetan, as in many other things 

[ 3 Si utique ad sedificandum ecclcsiam convcnitis, ea dici debent quse 
intelligant audientes. Pseud- Ambros. in 1 Cor. xiv. p. 157. App. Opp. 
T. ii. Par. 1690.] 

[ 4 Adjecit, Psallite sapienter ; ut non solum cantantes, sed intelligentes 
psallere debeamus. Nemo enim sapienter quicquam facit quod non in- 
telligit. p. 157. T. n. Opp. Rothomag. 1679.] 

[ 5 Oportet ut quando psallitur, psallatur ab omnibus ; cum oratur, oretur 
ab omnibus; quando lectio legitur, facto silentio seque audiatur ab om 
nibus. Opp. p. 393. Col. Agr. 1617.] 

[ 6 Labbe, Concill. vii. 966.] 

[? Maxima pars hominum cum nunc orat, nescio si spiritu, tamen mente 
non orat : nam in lingua orat quam non intelligit. Attamen maxime 
Paulus probat ut fideles pariter spiritu orent, et mente : et qui sic ut passim 



he blames the institutions of the Roman church, so indicates plainly 
that he is not pleased with the strange language in the service, 
in his Comment upon 1 Cor. xiv. For thus he speaks : " From 
what Paul here teaches us we find, that it is more for the edification 
of the church that the public prayers, which are said in the audience 
of the people, should be said in the common language of the clergy 
and people, than that they should be said in Latin 1 . 3 Here Catha- 
rinus 2 could not restrain himself from pouring forth many insults 
upon his own cardinal ; and he maintains that this is an invention of 
Luther s, or rather of the devil speaking in Luther 2 : which yet is 
plainly a doctrine and precept of the apostles, in spite of the blas 
phemies of this foul papist. Nicolas de Lyra, in his Postil upon 
1 Cor. xiv., writes frankly thus : " But if the people understand 
the prayer or benediction of the priest, they are better turned 
towards God, and more devoutly answer, Amen." And presently 
he subjoins: "What profit does the simple and ignorant folk gain? 
As much as to say, nothing or little ; because they know not how 
to conform themselves to thee, the minister of the church, by an 
swering, Amen. On which account in the primitive church the 
benedictions and other common offices were performed in the vulgar 
tongue 3 ." 

And so we have arrived at the conclusion of the Second 

solent orant, parum se oratione sedificant, et alios nequaquam sua sermone 
edificare valent. Fol. 101. Paris. 1517.] 

[1 Ex hac Pauli doctrina habetur, quod melius ad ecclesiee sedificationem 
est orationes publicas, quse audiente populo dicuntur, dici lingua communi 
clericis et populo, quam dici Latine. Fol. 158. 2. Paris. 1571.] 

[ 2 Quse primo a Luthero, imo a diabolo in Luthero loquente, inventa est. 
p. 57. Catharin. Annotat. in Cajet. Comm. Lugd. 1542.] 

[ 3 Quod si populus intelligit orationem seu benedictionem sacerdotis, 

melius reducitur in Deum, et devotius respondet Amen Quid proficit 

populus simplex et non intelligens ? Quasi dicat, nihil, aut modicum ; 
quod nescit se conformare tibi, qui es minister ecclesise, respondendo Amen. 
Propter quod in primitiva ecclesia benedictiones et cetera communia fiebant 
in vulgari. p. 55. 2. Biblia cum gloss, ord. et post. Lyr. T. vi. Venet. 1588.] 






IN commencing this question, we must return to those words of 
Christ, which are contained in John v. 39, epevvare ras ypcxpas, 
" Search the scriptures." In these words Christ hath referred and 
remitted us to the scriptures : whence it follows that they are de 
serving of the greatest trust, dignity, and authority. The question, 
therefore, between us and the papists is, whence they have received 
such great authority, and what it is, and on what this whole weight 
of such divine dignity and authority depends. The subject is diffi 
cult and perplexed ; nor do I know whether there is any other 
controversy between us of greater importance. Though desirous in 
every question to draw the doctrine of our adversaries from the 
decrees of the council of Trent, I am unable to do so in the present 
case ; for the council of Trent hath made no decree or definition 
upon this question. The opinion of the papists must, therefore, be 
discovered from their books. The Jesuit does not treat this ques 
tion in this place, but elsewhere in the controversy concerning 
councils ; and even there but briefly and superficially. But, since 
it appertains to the nature and efficacy of scripture, to know what 
its authority is, I have judged it proper to be treated here. 

It would be too troublesome and laborious to enumerate the 
opinions of all the papists severally upon this matter, and to inquire 
what every one may have written upon it. Those who are esteemed 
the most skilful and the best learned, now deny that they make the 
scripture inferior to the church ; for so Bellarmine and others openly 
profess, and complain that they are treated injuriously by us in 
this respect. But, that they make the authority of scripture de 
pend upon the church, and so do in fact make the scripture inferior 



to the church, and that we do them no injustice in attributing this 
to them, will appear from the words of their own theologians, and 
those not the meanest. Eckius, in his Enchiridion de Authorit. 
Eccles. Respons. 3, says that " the church is more ancient than 
the scriptures, and that the scripture is not authentic but by the 
authority of the church 1 ." And that this answer is wonderfully 
acceptable to the papists appears from the marginal note, where 
this argument is styled " Achilles pro Catholicis." How well this 
reason deserves to be considered Achillean, will appear hereafter. 
The same author places this assertion amongst heretical proposi 
tions, " The authority of scripture is greater than that of the 
church," and affirms the contrary proposition to be catholic : which 
agrees with the assertion so often repeated in the canon law, " The 
church is above the scripture." Pighius, de Hierarch. Eccles. Lib. 
i. c. 2, disputes against the scripturarians (as he calls us), main 
taining that the authority of scripture cannot be defended without 
the tradition of the church ; and affirms that the whole authority 
of scripture, with regard to us, depends upon ecclesiastical tradition, 
and that we cannot believe the scriptures upon any other grounds, 
but because the church confirms it by its testimony. His express 
words are these : " All the authority which the scripture now hath 
with us, depends necessarily upon the authority of the church 2 ." 
So, says he, it happens that the gospel of Mark, who was not an 
apostle, is received, while that of Thomas, who was an apostle, is 
not received. Hence also, he says, it hath come to pass that the 
gospel of Luke, who had not seen Christ, is retained, while the 
gospel of Nicodemus, who had seen Christ, is rejected. And he 
pursues this discourse to a great length. One Hermann, a most 
impudent papist, affirms that the scriptures are of no more avail 
than ^Esop s fables, apart from the testimony of the church 3 . As 
suredly this assertion is at once impudent and blasphemous. Yet, 

[ J c. 1. p. 6. Antwerp. 1533.] 

[ 2 Omnis quse mine apud nos est scripturarum auctoritas ab ecclesioe 
auctoritate dependet necessario. Pigli. Hierar. Eccles. Assertio. p. 17. Col. 
Agr. 1572.] 

[ 3 Casaubon, Exercit. Baron. I. xxxiii. had, but doubtfully, attributed 
this to Pighius : but in a MS. note preserved in Primate Marsh s library, at 
St Sepulchre s, Dublin, he corrects himself thus : " Non est hie, sed quidam 
Hermannus, ait Wittakerus in Prsefat. Controvers. 1. Qusest. 3. p. 314." 
If a new edition of those Exercitations be ever printed, let not these MSS. 
of that great man, which, with many other valuable records, we owe to the 
diligence of Stillingfleet and the munificence of Marsh, be forgotten.] 


when it was objected to them by Brentius in the Wittemberg Con 
fession, it was defended as a pious speech by Hosius, de Authorit. 
Script. Lib. HI. : where also he affirms that the scriptures would 
have no great weight, except for the testimony of the church. 
" In truth," says he, " unless the authority of the church had 
taught us that this was canonical scripture, it would have very 
slight weight with us 4 ." From this every one must see that the 
opinion of the papists is, that the authority of the church is really 
greater than that of scripture. 

But other papists now begin to speak with somewhat greater 
caution and accuracy. Cochlaeus, in his Reply to Bullinger, chap. 
2, avails himself of a distinction. He says that the scriptures 
are indeed in themselves firm, clear, perfect, and most worthy 
of all credit, as the work of God ; but that, with regard to us, 
they need the approval and commendation of the church, on ac 
count of the depravity of our minds and the weakness of our 
understandings. And this he confirms by the authority of Ari 
stotle, who says, in his Metaphysics, that " our understanding is to 
divine things as the eyes of owls to the light of the sun 5 ." So Canus, 
in his Common Places, Lib. 11. c. 8, says that we cannot be certain 
that the scriptures come from God, but by the testimony of the 
church. So our countryman Stapleton explains this controversy 
through almost his whole ninth book of Doctrinal Principles. In 
the first chapter he examines the state of the question ; where he 
says that the question is not, whether the scripture be in itself 
sacred and divine, but how we come to know that it is sacred and 
divine : and therefore he blames Calvin for stating the question 
wrongly, when he says that the papists affirm, that it depends 
upon the church what reverence is due to scripture. For (says 
he) the scriptures are in themselves worthy of all reverence, but, 
with regard to us, they would not by themselves have been held in 
such honour. This, says he, is a very different thing from making 
it depend upon the church, what books should be reckoned in the 
canon of scripture. The one (he adds) relates to the reverence due 
to scripture in itself; the other to the same reverence in respect to 
us. But, I beseech you, what is the difference between these two 

[ 4 Revera nisi nos ecclesise doceret auctoritas hanc scripturam csse ca- 
nonicam, perexiguum apud nos pondus haberet. p. 269. Opp. Antw. 1571.] 

[ 5 mo-TTfp yap /cat ra rtov WKTepidcw oppara irpbs TO (peyyos e^fi TO pfff 
rip-cpay, ovTd) Koi TTJS ijp.eTepas ^VXTJS 6 vovs rrpbs ra TTJ (pvo-ci $ai>epa>rara 
7rai/Tcoi>. Mctaphys. Lib. ii. c. 1. Opp. T. II. p. 856, B. Paris. 1619.] 


opinions, It depends upon the judgment of the church what rever 
ence is due to scripture ; and, It depends upon the judgment of 
the church what books are to be received into the canon ; since 
that sacred scripture, to which divine reverence is due, is to be 
found only in the canonical books ? The papists affirm the latter 
opinion ; therefore, also the first. The same is the opinion of the 
Jesuit, Controv. de Condi. Qusest. 2 ; where he says that the scrip 
tures do not need the approbation of the church ; and that, when it 
is said that the church approves them, it is only meant that it de 
clares these scriptures to be canonical. To the same effect Andra- 
dius also writes, Defens. Trid. Con. Lib. IIL, that the church does 
not give to scripture its authority, but only declares to us how 
great its authority is in itself. This opinion might appear tolerable, 
that scripture is in itself a sacred and divine thing, but is not 
recognised as such by us, except upon the testimony of the church. 
But in the second book the same author speaks much more per 
versely : " Nor is there in the books themselves, wherein the sacred 
mysteries are written, any divinity to compel us by a sort of re 
ligious awe to believe what they contain ; but the efficacy and 
dignity of the church, which teaches us that those books are sacred, 
and commends to us the faith and piety of the ancient fathers, are 
such that no one can oppose them without the deepest brand of 
impiety 1 ." Canisius, in his Catechism, c. 3, sect. 16, says that the 
authority of the church is necessary to us, firstly, in order that 
" we may certainly distinguish the true and canonical scriptures 
from the spurious 2 ." They mean, then, that the scripture depends 
upon the church, not in itself, but in respect of us. 

And now we are well nigh in possession of the true state of 
the question, which is itself no slight advantage : for they speak in 
so perplexed, obscure, and ambiguous a manner, that one cannot 
easily understand what it is they mean. Now these assertions 
might seem not to deserve any severe reprehension, that the 
scripture hath authority in itself, but that it cannot be certain to 
us except through the church. But we shall presently shew where 
the true steps and turning point of the controversy lie. 

[ x JSFeque enim in ipsis libris, quibus sacra mysteria scripta sunt, quic- 
quam inest divinitatis, quse nos ad credendum quse illis continentur religione 
aliqua constringat : sed ecclesise, quse codices illos sacros esse docet et 
antiquorum patrum fidem et pietatem commendat, tanta est vis et am- 
plitudo, ut illis nemo sine gravissima impietatis nota possit repugnare.] 

[ 2 Opus Catech. p. 156. Colon. 1577.] 


Meanwhile let us see what they mean by this word, the "church." 
Now, under the name of the church the papists understand not only 
that church which was in the times of the apostles (for Thomas of 
Walden is blamed on that account by Canus, Loc. Comm. Lib. n. 
c. 8, and also by Stapleton, Doctrin. Princip. Lib. ix. c. 12, 13), 
but the succeeding, and therefore the present church ; yet not the 
whole people, but the pastors only. Canus, when he handles this 
question, understands by the church sometimes the pastors, some 
times councils, sometimes the Roman pontiff. Stapleton, Lib. ix. 
c. 1, applies this distinction : The church, as that term denotes the 
rulers and pastors of the faithful people, not only reveres the scrip 
ture, but also by its testimony commends, delivers down, and con 
signs it, that is to say, with reference to the people subject to 
them : but, as the church denotes the people or the pastors, as 
members and private persons, it only reveres the scripture. And 
when the church consigns the scripture, it "does not make it au 
thentic from being doubtful absolutely, but only in respect of us, 
nor does it make it authentic absolutely, but only in respect of us." 
Hence we see what they understand by the term the church, and 
how they determine that the scripture is consigned and approved 
by the church. 

We will now briefly explain our own opinion upon this matter. 
It does not appear to be a great controversy, and yet it is the 
greatest. In the first place, we do not deny that it appertains to 
the church to approve, acknowledge, receive, promulge, commend 
the scriptures to all its members ; and we say that this testi 
mony is true, and should be received by all. We do not, there 
fore, as the papists falsely say of us, refuse the testimony of the 
church, but embrace it. But we deny that we believe the scrip 
tures solely on account of this commendation of them by the church. 
For we say that there is a more certain and illustrious testimony, 
whereby we are persuaded of the sacred character of these books, 
that is to say, the internal testimony of the Holy Spirit, without 
which the commendation of the church would have with us no 
weight or moment. The papists, therefore, are unjust to us, when 
they affirm that we reject and make no account of the authority of 
the church. For we gladly receive the testimony of the church, 
and admit its authority ; but we affirm that there is a far different, 
more certain, true, and august testimony than that of the church. 
The sum of our opinion is, that the scripture is avroirujro^, that 
is, hath all its authority and credit from itself; is to be acknow- 


ledged, is to be received, not only because the church hath so deter 
mined and commanded, but because it comes from God ; and that 
we certainly know that it comes from God, not by the church, but by 
the Holy Ghost. Now by the church we understand not, as they do, 
the pastors, bishops, councils, pope ; but the whole multitude of the 
faithful. For this whole multitude hath learned from the Holy Spirit 
that this scripture is sacred, that these books are divine. This per 
suasion the Holy Spirit hath sealed in the minds of all the faithful. 
The state of the controversy, therefore, is this : Whether we 
should believe that these scriptures which we now have are sacred 
and canonical merely on account of the church s testimony, or rather 
on account of the internal persuasion of the Holy Spirit ; which, as 
it makes the scripture canonical and authentic in itself, makes it 
also to appear such to us, and without which the testimony of the 
church is dumb and inefficacious. 



IT remains now that we proceed to the arguments of the 
papists. But first, we must explain what authority, both in their 
opinion and in ours, the church exercises with respect to scripture. 

Of all the popish authors, Stapleton hath treated this question 
with the greatest acuteness : we shall, therefore, examine him specially 
in this debate. He, Doctr. Princip. Lib. ix. cap. 2, makes use of a 
distinction which he hath taken from Cochlaeus. He says, as we 
have touched before, that the scripture must be considered under a 
twofold aspect, in itself, and relatively to us. In itself, and of 
itself, he says that it is always sacred on account of its author, 
" whether it be received by the church, or whether it be not 
received." For though, says he, the church can never reject the 
scripture, because it comes from God ; yet it may sometimes not 
receive some part of scripture. But, I pray you, what is the 
difference between not receiving and rejecting ? Absolutely none. 
He who does not receive God rejects him ; and so the church 
plainly rejected those scriptures which formerly it did not receive. 
For I would fain know why it did not receive them. Certainly 
the reason was, because it judged them spurious, wherein it appears 


it might be mistaken. But Stapleton goes on to say, that the 
church, exercising its just privilege, might sometimes not receive 
some books ; and he shews that some doctrines are now received by 
the later churches which were not received formerly. These if 
any one were now to reject, after the church hath received them, 
he would, says Stapleton, be most justly called and deemed a 
heretic. But I affirm, that no doctrines have now become matters 
of faith, which were not received by the ancient church in the times 
of the apostles ; so that all those churches must have erred which 
formerly did not receive the same. He presses us, however, with 
particular instances, and produces certain points which he says 
were not received at first : as for instance, the doctrine of the pro 
cession of the Holy Ghost, of the creation of souls immediately by 
God, of the unlawfulness of repeating heretical baptism : but I 
affirm once more, that all these doctrines had whatever force they 
now have at all times, so as that if it be now heretical not to assent 
to them, it must have been always equally heretical ; for the 
doctrine of scripture never changes in the gospel, but is always 
equally necessary. Everything that Stapleton adduces, in order to 
shew that those books which were formerly not received by the 
church, ought now to be received solely on account of the external 
testimony of the church, may be reduced to the argument stated 
above. He subjoins that the authority of the church respects the 
scriptures only materially ; which he explains to mean, that it is 
fitting we should obey the judgment of the church, and, on account 
of its judgment, receive the scripture as sacred. But it would not, 
says he, be fitting that the truth of scripture, or of other objects of 
faith, should so depend upon the judgment of the church, as that 
they should only be true on condition of the church s approving them ; 
but now, says he, the church does not make them true in themselves, 
but only causes them to be believed as true. Mark ye. The scrip 
ture is true in itself, and all the doctrines of scripture are true; but 
they could not appear true to us, we could not believe the scriptures, 
unless the church approved the scripture and the doctrines of scrip 
ture. Although these things be true in themselves, yet they would 
not have seemed true to us, they would not have been believed, or 
(to use Stapleton s expression) received by us, unless on account of 
the church s approbation. This is the whole mystery of iniquity. 

We determine far otherwise, and with far greater truth : for we 
resolutely deny that we are indebted to the church for this that the 
scriptures are true even in respect to us ; but we say that our 


belief of their truth is produced by the testimony and suggestion 
of the Holy Spirit. It was Cochlaeus who taught Stapleton this 
blasphemy, in his second book upon the authority of the church 
and scripture ; where he collects many places of scripture, which 
may seem incredible to man, and to which he maintains that human 
frailty could not assent, if they were not confirmed by the authority 
of the church. Such is the account of David s innumerable army, 
which he shews from the smallness of that country to be a thing 
which no one would think credible. For he says that the land of 
Judaaa could never have nourished and supported such a vast 
number of men ; and demonstrates this from a comparison of that 
region with other countries, shewing that so many thousand men 
were never enrolled in the whole Roman republic, which was much 
larger than Judsea. How, says he, can the human intellect assent 
to these things, when nothing of the kind is read in any other 
historians, cosmographers, philosophers, orators, nay, even poets? 
"For what fable of the poets" (these are his words) "ever ascribed 
such a number of warriors to one people, and that not the whole 
of the people 1 ?" He brings in also the number of talents which 
David is said to have left to his son Solomon for the building of 
the temple. For this, he maintains, may deservedly seem incredible, 
inasmuch as David was very poor ; which he endeavours to prove 
from the circumstance that he spent so much upon his courtiers, 
sons, wives, and concubines which he had in great numbers, and 
also in the wars, which lasted almost all through his life. Whence, 
he asks, came such wealth to David as neither Croesus, nor Alex 
ander, nor Augustus, ever possessed? He is profusely prodigal 
of words and eloquence upon this subject, and hath produced many 
passages of this kind, which shame and weariness alike forbid me 
to enumerate. At the close he concludes thus, (and a noble con 
clusion it is,) that all these things cannot otherwise be believed, but 
because the church believes them, and hath required them to be 
believed. Certainly I know not what is, if this be not, impudence. 
Cannot then these things be believed on any other ground, but 
because the church hath delivered them, and would have them to 
be believed? What then shall we say of the almost infinite 
number of other such things which are contained in scripture ; of 
the passage of the Israelites through the sea ; of the manna ; of 
the quails by which the people of Israel were fed in the desert so 

[! Quse enim fabula poetarum uni populo nee toti tantuin numerum 
ascripsit fortium virorum ?J 


richly ; of all Christ s miracles ? What of the whole scheme of 
our redemption, the incarnation, death, resurrection, ascension, of 
Christ ? What must we determine of all these ? Can these too 
be believed as true upon no other reason or testimony, but because 
the church hath so determined? This is monstrous blasphemy, 
and worthy of a Cochlseus and a Stapleton ! We believe these 
things, and have no doubt of their truth, not merely because the 
church hath so determined, but on account of the authority of the 
word of God and of the Holy Spirit. All therefore that the 
papists allege tends substantially to make the whole authority of 
scripture depend upon the authority of the church, which never 
theless they deny : yet that this is the real meaning of their 
opinion is manifest from what hath been already said. Stapleton 
subjoins, that it should not appear to us more unbecoming that the 
church should commend the scripture and bear testimony to it, 
than it was unbecoming that John the Baptist should bear witness 
to Christ, and the gospel should be written by men. Now we 
confess that the church commends the scripture by its testimony, 
and that this is the illustrious office of the church ; but it is a very 
different matter to say that we could not otherwise believe the 
scriptures, unless on account of this judgment and testimony of the 
church. We concede the former ; the latter we resolutely deny, 
and that with the greatest detestation. 

You have heard how much these men attribute to the church. 
It follows now that we consider how much ought really to be 
attributed to it. We do not indeed ascribe as much to the church 
as they do (for we could not do so lawfully) ; but yet we recognise 
distinguished offices which the church hath to perform in respect 
of scripture, and which may be reduced to four heads. First, the 
church is the witness and guardian of the sacred writings, and 
discharges, in this respect, as it were the function of a notary. 
In guardians the greatest fidelity is required: but no one would 
say that records were believed merely on the notary s authority, 
but on account of their own trustworthiness. So the church ought 
carefully to guard the scriptures, and yet we do not repose credit 
in the scriptures merely on account of the testimony and authority 
of the church. The second office of the church is, to distinguish 
and discern the true, sincere, and genuine scriptures from the 
spurious, false, and supposititious. Wherein it discharges the office 
of a champion ; and for the performance of this function it hath 
the Spirit of Christ to enable it to distinguish the true from the 


false : it knows the voice of the spouse ; it is endued with the 
highest prudence, and is able to try the spirits. The goldsmith 
with his scales and touchstone can distinguish gold from copper 
and other metals ; wherein he does not make gold, even in respect 
of us, but only indicates what is gold, so that we the more easily 
trust it. Or, if a different illustration be required, another skilful 
person informs me that a coin, which I do not recognise as such, 
is good and lawful money : and I, being so instructed, acquiesce ; 
but it is on account of the matter and the form impressed upon 
the coin that I perceive it to be sterling and royal money. In 
like manner, the church acknowledges the scriptures, and de 
clares them to be divine: we, admonished and stirred up by the 
church, perceive the matter to be so indeed. The third office 
of the church is to publish, set forth, preach, and promulgate the 
scriptures; wherein it discharges the function of a herald, who 
ought to pronounce with a loud voice the decrees and edicts of the 
king, to omit nothing, to add nothing of his own. Chrysostom, in 
his first Homily upon the Epistle to Titus, pursues this similitude : 
" As," says he, " the herald makes his proclamation in the theatre 
in the presence of all, so also we 1 ." Where he shews that the duty 
of the herald is to publish whatever is consigned to him, to add 
nothing of his own, and to keep back no part of his commission. 
Now the people believes and obeys the edict of the magistrates on 
its own account, not because of the voice of the crier. The fourth 
office of the church is to expound and interpret the scriptures; 
wherein its function is that of an interpreter. Here it should in 
troduce no fictions of its own, but explain the scriptures by the 
scriptures. Such are the offices, and those surely in the highest 
degree great and dignified, which we gladly allow to belong to 
the church : from which, nevertheless, it will by no means follow, 
that we assent to the scriptures solely on account of the church s 
authority, which is the point that the papists affirm and maintain. 

From what hath been said it is sufficiently evident what are 
the offices of the church in respect of scripture, both in our opinion 
and in that of the papists. 

[! ooo-Trep 6 Kripvt- TTCIVTWV irapovTaiv fv ru> 6f rpw KTjpvrTfi, ovrco KOI 
Opp. T. IV. p. 383.] 




WE have drawn the true state of this question from the books 
of the papists themselves. It follows now that we should approach 
their arguments, which they themselves deem so exceeding strong 
as to leave us no capacity to resist them. But we, with God s help, 
shall easily (as I hope) confute them all. Stapleton hath borrowed 
much from Canus, and explicated his arguments at greater length. 
With him therefore we will engage, as well because he is our fellow- 
countryman, as because he seems to have handled this subject most 
acutely and accurately of them all. He bestows his whole ninth 
book upon this question, and in the fourth chapter of that book 
commences his reasoning against us in this manner : To have a 
certain canon of scripture is most necessary to faith and religion. 
But without the authority of the church it is impossible to have 
a certain canon of scripture ; since it cannot be clear and certain 
to us what book is legitimate, what supposititious, unless the church 
teach us. Therefore, &c. I answer, as to the major : Firstly, 
the major is true, if he mean books properly canonical, which have 
been always received by the church ; for these the church ought 
always to acknowledge for canonical : although it be certain that 
many flourishing churches formerly in several places had doubts 
for a time concerning many of the books, as appears from antiquity. 
Secondly, therefore, it is not absolutely, and in the case of each 
particular person, necessary for faith and salvation to know what 
books are canonical. For many can have faith and obtain sal 
vation, who do not hold the full number of the canonical books. 
Stapleton proves his assumption, namely, that the canon of scrip 
ture can no otherwise be certainly known to us but by the authority 
of the church, by three arguments. The first is this : There is 
no authority more certain than that of the church. But there is 
need of the most certain authority, that the trustworthiness of 
scripture may be ascertained, and all doubt removed from the 
conscience concerning the canon of scripture. Therefore, &c. I 
answer, that it is false to say, as he does, that no authority is 
more certain than that of the church : it is a mere begging of the 
question. For greater and more certain is the authority of God, 
of the scriptures themselves, and of the Holy Spirit, by whose 


testimony the truth of scripture is sealed in our minds, and with 
out which all other testimonies are utterly devoid of strength. 
But God (says he) teaches us through the church, and by no other 
medium: therefore there is no more certain authority than that 
of the church. I answer : His own words prove that God s au 
thority is more certain. For the authority of him who teaches 
is greater than that of him through whom one is taught. God 
teaches us through the church : therefore the authority of God 
is greater than that of the church. I am surprised that Stapleton 
should have been so stupid as not to see that, if it be God who 
teaches through the church, the authority of God must be greater 
than that of the church. He confesses that we are taught by God 
through the church : therefore, since God is the prime and highest 
teacher, it is evident that his authority and trustworthiness is the 
chief. For the church is only his minister, subserves him in giving 
instruction, and expounds his commands. The weakness of his 
reasoning will easily appear from a parallel instance. A prince 
publishes his law and edict by a herald, and explains and expounds 
by his lawyers the meaning of the law and the force of the edict. 
Does it therefore follow that there is no more certain authority 
than that of the herald and the lawyers ? By no means. For it 
is manifest that the authority of the law and of the prince is greater 
than that of the herald or the interpreter. But (says he) nothing 
is more certain than God s teaching : therefore nothing more 
certain than the authority of the church, since God teaches through 
the church. Now where is the consequence of this ? We confess 
indeed that nothing is more certain than God s teaching, and this 
is the very thing which we maintain, and hence conclude that the 
authority of the church is not the highest : but his consequence 
meanwhile is weak, until he prove that God and the church are 
the same thing. It will more correctly follow from this reasoning, 
that nothing is more certain than the word of God and the scrip 
tures, because it is God who addresses us in his word, and teaches 
us through his word ; whereas the church discharges merely a 
ministerial function. Therefore we are not bound absolutely to 
receive whatever the church may teach us, but only whatever it 
proves itself to have been commanded by God to teach us, and 
with divine authority. 

The second argument wherewith Stapleton confirms the as 
sumption of the preceding syllogism is this : All other mediums 
that can be attempted are insufficient without making recourse to 


the judgment of the church ; and then he enumerates the mediums 
upon which we rely. For as to the style (says he) and phrase 
ology, and other mediums, by which the scripture is usually dis 
tinguished, these the church knows best, and is best able to judge 
aright. Therefore, &c. I answer : If by the church he understand 
the pope and the bishops (as the papists always do), I deny that 
they are best able to distinguish the style and phraseology of scrip 
ture ; I deny that this is the true church of Christ which knows 
the voice of Christ. But if he speak of the true church, this 
fallacy is that called ignoratio elenchi, and the state of the question 
is changed. For before this he had been speaking of the external 
judgment of scripture, which perhaps may properly belong to the 
bishops : but here he understands the internal judgment, which is 
not only proper to the pastors, but common to all Christians : for 
all Christ s sheep know his voice, and are internally persuaded of 
the truth of scripture. Secondly, although we should concede all 
this to him, yet where will be the coherence of his reasoning, 
The church knows best the voice of the spouse, and the style and 
phraseology of scripture ; therefore its authority is the most cer 
tain ? For what though the church know ? What is that to me ? 
Are these things therefore known and certain to me? For the 
real question is, how I can know it best ? Although the church 
know ever so well the voice of its spouse, and the style and 
phraseology of scripture, it hath that knowledge to itself, not to 
me; and by whatever means it hath gained that knowledge, 
why should I be able to gain it also by the same ? Thirdly, from 
what he says, the contrary of his conclusion might much more 
correctly be inferred, namely, that the authority of scripture is 
more certain than that of the church. For if the authority of 
the church be therefore most certain, because it knows best the 
style of scripture, and judges by the style of scripture, it is plain 
that the authority of scripture itself is far more certain, since it 
indicates itself to the church by its style. But I (you will say) 
should not know that this was the voice of the spouse, that this 
was the style of scripture, unless the church were to teach me. 
This, indeed, is untrue, since it can be known that this is the 
voice of Christ and true and genuine scripture without the judg 
ment of the church, as shall hereafter be shewn more at large. 
But, although we were to grant him this, that it could not be 
known otherwise than through the church, that these were the 
scriptures, yet even so the argument would be inconsequential. 


For many would not have known Christ, if John had not taught 
them, pointed him out, and exclaimed, " Behold the Lamb of God, 
who taketh away the sin of the world ! " Was then the authority 
of John more certain than that of Christ ? By no means. For 
John brought many to Christ, who afterwards believed much more 
on account of Christ himself, than on account of the preaching and 
testimony of John. So many through means of the church believe 
these to be the scriptures, who afterwards believe still more firmly, 
being persuaded by the scriptures themselves. Besides, Paul and 
Peter and the other apostles best knew the voice of Christ ; must 
therefore their authority be rated higher than that of Christ him 
self ? Far from it. It does not therefore follow that because the 
church knows very well the voice of Christ, the authority of the 
church is greater than that of Christ. But as to his pretence that 
because the church delivers the rule of faith, it must therefore be 
the correctest judge of that rule ; we must observe that the terms 
deliver and judge are ambiguous. The church does indeed deliver 
that rule, not as its author, but as a witness, and an admonisher, 
and a minister : it judges also when instructed by the Holy 
Spirit. But may I therefore conclude, that I cannot be certain 
of this rule, but barely by the testimony of the church? It is 
a mere fallacy of the accident. There is no consequence in this 
reasoning : I can be led by the church s voice to the rule of faith ; 
therefore I can have no more certain judgment than that of the 

In the third place, Stapleton proves the fore-mentioned assump 
tion thus : Scripture (says he) cannot be proved by scripture : 
therefore it must be proved by the church ; and consequently the 
authority of the church is greater than that of scripture. The an 
tecedent is thus established. Should any one, he says, deny Paul s 
epistles to be canonical, it cannot be proved either from the old 
Testament, or from the gospel, because there is nowhere any men 
tion there made of them. Then he goes on to say that neither the 
whole scripture, nor any part of it, can be proved from scripture 
itself, because all proof is drawn from things better known than the 
thing to be proved. Therefore (says he) to one who denies or 
knows not either the whole scripture or any part of it, nothing can 
be proved from scripture itself. But here, according to him, the 
church comes to our help in both cases. For, should any one 
deny a part of scripture, the church persuades him to receive 
these books upon the same ground as he hath received the others : 


he who is ignorant of the whole scripture, it persuades to accept 
the scripture in the same way as he hath accepted Christ. 

I answer, This is a fine way of persuading a man to receive 
these books upon the same grounds as he hath received the others! 
But the question is, how he was first induced to receive those 
others ? Was it by the authority of the church ? Why then did 
he not receive all upon the faith of the same judgment ? For the 
church will have us receive the whole scripture as well as certain 
parts of it. Stapleton does not meet this scruple. Besides, it is 
manifestly absurd to suppose the possibility of a man s believing in 
Christ, who denies and rejects the whole scripture : this certainly is 
quite impossible. But now let us come to the examination of the 
argument itself, to which I return a twofold answer. First, I affirm 
that the scripture can be understood, perceived, known and proved 
from scripture. Secondly, I say that if it cannot be perceived and 
proved in this way, still less can it be proved by the church. 

The first will be evident from the following considerations. 
Scripture hath for its author God himself; from whom it first pro 
ceeded and came forth. Therefore, the authority of scripture may 
be proved from the author himself, since the authority of God him 
self shines forth in it. 2 Tim. iii. 16, the whole scripture is called 
OeoTTvevaros. In 2 Pet. i. 12, we are told, " Prophecy in old 
time came not by the will of men, but holy men of God spake as 
they were moved by the Holy Ghost," VTTO TrvevjuaTos dyiov 
And, verse 19, the word of prophecy is called /3e- 
E^o^ey, says the apostle, fiefiaiorepov TOV 7rpo(pr]Ti- 
KOV \6yov. That word /3e/3a torero? is most pertinent to the mat 
ter in hand ; for it signifies that the scripture is endued with the 
firmest and highest authority. In the same place it is compared to 
a lamp shining in a dark place, \vyixp (paivovn ev av^rjpw TOTTW. 
It hath therefore light in itself, and such light as we may see in 
the darkness. But if the opinion of our opponents were correct, 
this light should be in the church, not in the scriptures. David 
indicates the same thing in the 14th octonary of Psalm cxix., at the 
beginning, where he says, " Thy word is a lamp to my feet, and a 
light to my path :" therefore the scripture hath the clearest light 
in itself. On this account it is frequently styled the testimony. 
From these and similar passages, we reason thus : There is the 
greatest perspicuity and light in the scriptures : therefore the scrip 
ture may be understood by the scripture, if one only have eyes to 
perceive this light. As the brightest light appears in the sun, so 




the greatest splendour of divinity shines forth in the word of God. 
The blind cannot perceive even the light of the sun ; nor can they 
distinguish the splendour of the scriptures, whose minds are not 
divinely illuminated. But those who have eyes of faith can behold 
this light. Besides, if we recognise men when they speak, why 
should we not also hear and recognise God speaking in his word ? 
For what need is there that another should teach that this is the 
voice of somebody, when I recognise it myself; or should inform 
me that my friend speaks, when I myself hear and understand him 
speaking ? 

But they object that we cannot recognise the voice of God, 
because we do not hear God speaking. This I deny. For those 
who have the Holy Spirit, are taught of God : these can recog 
nise the voice of God as much as any one can recognise a friend, 
with whom he hath long and familiarly lived, by his voice. Nay, 
they can even hear God. For so Augustine (Ep. m.), "God ad 
dresses us every day. He speaks to the heart of every one of 
us 1 ." If we do not understand, the reason is because we have not 
the Spirit, by which our hearts should be enlightened. With 
respect to us, therefore, the authority of the scripture depends 
upon, and is made clear by, the internal witness of the Holy Spirit; 
without which, though you were to hear a thousand times that this 
is the word of God, yet you could never believe in such a manner 
as to acquiesce with an entire assent. Besides, the papists should 
tell us whether or no this is really the word of God which we pos 
sess. Now that it is in itself the word of God, they do not deny, 
but they say that we cannot be certain of it without the help of 
the church : they confess that the voice of God sounds in our ears ; 
but they say that we cannot believe it, except upon account of the 
church s approbation. But now, if it be the word of God which we 
hear, it must needs have a divine authority of itself, and should be 
believed by itself and for itself. Otherwise we should ascribe more 
to the church than to God, if we did not believe him except for the 
sake of the church. God speaks in the prophets, and through the 
prophets : whence we find often used by them such phrases as, the 
word of Jehovah, and, Thus saith Jehovah. Now then these men 
tell me that I must by no means believe that God really speaks, or 
that this is the word of Jehovah, unless the church confirm the 
same : in which proceeding every one may perceive that more 
credit and authority is ascribed to the church, that is, to men, than 
[! Ep. 137. Opp. T. ii. 528. Bassan. 1797.] 


to God ; which is directly opposite to what should be done : for 
God ought to be believed before all, since he is the prime and 
highest verity; while the church is nothing of the kind. If, there 
fore, God address me, and say that this is his word, I should 
acquiesce in hi& authority. Hitherto we have shewn that there is 
a divine authority in scripture (which we shall do hereafter even 
still more clearly); and that, consequently, we should believe it by 
itself and of itself. It now remains that we shew that the scrip 
tures themselves mutually support and confirm each other by their 
testimony ; which is a point easy to be proved. 

The old Testament is confirmed by itself, and by the new ; the 
new also by itself, and by the old : so that, as it is certain that 
there is a God, although the church had never said it, so it is cer 
tain that the scripture is the word of God, although the church had 
been silent upon the subject. But they, perhaps, would not even 
believe God s existence, except upon the church s word. It is evi 
dent that the old Testament is proved by the new. In Luke xxiv. 
44, Christ divides the whole old Testament into Moses, the pro 
phets, and the Psalms : therefore he hath declared all these books 
to be authentic and canonical, and hath besides confirmed his whole 
doctrine from those books. If, then, we believe Christ, we must 
believe the whole old Testament to be endued with authentical au 
thority. In Luke xvi. 29, 31, Abraham, when the rich man requests 
that Lazarus may be sent to his brethren, replies, " They have 
Moses and the prophets ; let them hear them :" as much as to say, 
those who will not hear them, will hear no man, not even the church. 
In John x. 35, " the scripture cannot be broken," \v9fjvai, there 
fore it possesses an eternal and immutable force. In John v. 39, 
Christ says to the Jews, " Search the scriptures :" where he under 
stands all the books of the old Testament; for the new had not yet 
been published. Thus we have shewn in general that the old Tes 
tament is confirmed by the new ; let us now shew the same in 
detail. Christ himself confirms the books of Moses specially, Matth. 
v., where he interprets the whole law ; Matth. xix., where he ex 
plains the law of marriage ; Matth. xxii., where he proves the re 
surrection of the flesh from Moses; and John iii. 14, -where he 
confirms his own death, and its efficacy and benefits, from the figure 
of the brasen serpent. The historical books of the old Testament 
are likewise confirmed by the new. Matth. xii. 42, Christ mentions 
the story of the Queen of Sheba : Luke iv. 26, the story of the 
widow of Sarepta is repeated, which occurs 2 Kings v. : Acts ii. 25, 



30, 34, a testimony is adduced from the Psalms : Acts xiii. 17 and 
following verses, Paul details a long narrative, drawn from several 
books of the old Testament : Heb. xi., many examples are produced 
from the books of Joshua and Judges. Part of the genealogy which 
Matthew exhibits is derived from the book of Ruth. From the 
Psalms an almost infinite multitude of testimonies are alleged ; very 
many from Isaiah ; many from Ezekiel, and, in a word, from all the 
prophets, except perhaps one or two of the minor prophets. But 
Stephen, Acts vii. 42, cites the book of the twelve minor prophets, 
and thus proves the authority of them all ; for all the minor pro 
phets used formerly to make but one book. Now the testimony 
there cited is taken from the prophet Amos. Thus it is manifest 
that the confirmation of the old may be drawn from the new Testa 
ment. Upon this subject, see further in Augustine, in his book, 
contra Adversar. Legis et Prophetarum, and contra Faustum 

Now that, in like manner, the books of the new Testament 
may be confirmed from the old, is sufficiently clear. For the 
truth of the new Testament is shadowed forth in the figures of 
the old ; and whatever things were predicted in the old, those we 
read to have been fulfilled in the new. Whatever was said ob 
scurely in the former, is said plainly in the latter. Therefore if 
one be true, the other must needs be true also. Moses wrote of 
the Messiah, and so did the prophets. Moses, Deut. xviii. 18, fore 
told that there should be a prophet like unto himself; and death 
and destruction is denounced upon any who would not hear him. 
Peter, Acts iii. 22, and Stephen, Acts vii. 37, teach us that this 
prediction of a prophet hath been fulfilled. Moses therefore hath 
sanctioned Christ by his testimony. Peter confirms Paul s epistles 
by his authority, 2 Pet. iii. 16, and distinctly calls them scriptures. 
" The unlearned," says he, " wrest them, as they do also the other 
scriptures." Paul confirms his own epistles by his name, and by 
his judgment. Therefore the old and new Testaments do, by their 
mutual testimony, establish and consign each other. In other cases, 
indeed, such a mutual confirmation is of no avail ; but in this it 
should be of the greatest, because no one is so fit a witness of God 
and his word, as God himself in his word. If then we repose any 
credit in the old Testament, we must repose as much in the new ; 
if we believe the new, we must believe the old also. But the 
papists, on the contrary, would have neither Testament believed on 
its own account, but both on account of the church s authority : the 


falsehood of which is abundantly evident from what hath been 
already said. 

But human incredulity will still urge, that this may indeed be 
conceded with respect to some books, but that it cannot be affirmed 
of every one of the books of the old and new Testament ; because 
we nowhere read that the books of Esther, Nehemiah, and Ezra, were 
confirmed by the authority of the new Testament : and there are 
besides many books of the new Testament which cannot be con 
firmed by the old. Besides, if there were even some one book of 
the new Testament, in which all the books of the old Testament 
were severally enumerated, there would yet be . need (will the 
papists say) of the authority of the ancient church, because there 
may be some who do not acknowledge the authority of any book ; 
and how (they will say) are we to persuade such persons that this 
scripture is divine ? 

I answer, in the first place, such men as these, who despise all 
the sacred books, the church itself will be unable to convince : for 
with those who hold the authority of scripture in no esteem, the 
authority of the church will have but little weight. Secondly, if 
any pious persons have yet doubts concerning the scriptures, much 
more certain evidences may be gathered from the books themselves, 
to prove them canonical, than from any authority of the church. 
I speak not now of the internal testimony of the Spirit, but of cer 
tain external testimonies, which may be drawn from the books 
themselves to prove them divinely inspired writings. Such are 
mentioned by Calvin, Institut. Lib. i. c. 8 l , and are of the following 
kind. First, the majesty of the doctrine itself, which everywhere 
shines forth in the sacred and canonical books. Nowhere, assuredly, 
does such majesty appear in the books of philosophers, orators, or 
even of all the divines that ever wrote upon theology. There are 
none of the sacred books which one would be more likely to ques 
tion than the Epistle of Jude, the second Epistle of Peter, and the 
second and third of John, since formerly even some churches enter 
tained doubts of them : nevertheless, in these there is contained 
such a kind of teaching as can be found in no other writer. 
Secondly, the simplicity, purity, and divinity of the style. Never 
was anything written more chastely, purely, or divinely. Such pu 
rity is not to be found in Plato, or in Aristotle, or in Demosthenes, 
or in Cicero, or in any other writer. Thirdly, the antiquity of the 
books themselves secures them a great authority. For the books 
of Moses are more ancient than the writings of any other men, and 
[ l T. i. pp. 6269. ed. Tholuck. Berolin. 1834.] 


contain the oldest of all histories, deduced from the very creation of 
the world ; which other writers were either wholly ignorant of, or 
heard of from this source, or contaminated by the admixture of 
many fables. Fourthly, the oracles contained in these books prove 
their authority to be sacred in the highest sense, by shewing it 
necessarily divine. For some things are here predicted, which 
happened many ages afterwards, and names are given to persons 
some ages before they were born ; as to Josiah, 1 Kings xiii. 2, 
and to Cyrus, Isaiah xliv. 28, and xlv. 1. How could this have 
been without some divine inspiration ? Fifthly, miracles, so many 
and so true, prove God to be the author of these books. Sixthly, 
the enemies themselves prove these books to be sacred ; for, while 
they have endeavoured wholly to destroy them, their fury hath 
ever been in vain : nay, many of them, by the penalties and 
torments which befel them, were made to understand that it was 
the word of God which they opposed. Seventhly, the testimonies 
of martyrs make it evident that the majesty of these books is of no 
mean character, since they have sealed the doctrine, here delivered 
down and set forth, by their confession and their blood. Eighthly, 
the authors themselves guarantee, in a great measure, the credit of 
these books. What sort of men were they before they were 
raised up to discharge this office by the Holy Ghost? Altogether 
unfitted for such a function then, though afterwards endowed with 
the noblest gifts of the Holy Spirit. Who was Moses, before he 
was called by God ? First, a courtier in Egypt, then a shepherd, 
finally, endued with the richest outpouring of the Spirit, he became 
a prophet, and the leader of the people of Israel. Who was Jere 
miah? A man, incapable, as himself testifies, of any eloquence. 
Who was David? A youth and a shepherd. Who Peter? A 
fisherman, an ignorant and illiterate person. Who John? A man 
of the same low rank. Who was Matthew ? A publican, altogether 
a stranger to holy things. Who was Paul ? An enemy and per 
secutor of that doctrine which he afterwards professed. Who was 
Luke ? A physician. How could such men have written so divinely 
without the divine inspiration of the Holy Ghost? They were, 
almost all, illiterate men, learned in no accomplishments, taught in 
no schools, imbued with no instruction; but afterwards summoned by 
a divine call, marked out for this office, admitted to the counsels 
of God : and so they committed all to writing with the exactest 
fidelity ; which writings are now in our hands. 

These topics may prove that these books are divine, yet will 
never be sufficient to bring conviction to our souls so as to make us 


assent, unless the testimony of the Holy Spirit be added. When 
this is added, it fills our minds with a wonderful plenitude of as 
surance, confirms them, and causes us most gladly to embrace the 
scriptures, giving force to the preceding arguments. Those pre 
vious arguments may indeed urge and constrain us ; but this (I 
mean the internal testimony of the Holy Spirit) is the only argu 
ment which can persuade us. 

Now if the preceding arguments cannot persuade us, how 
much less the authority of the church, although it were to repeat 
its affirmation a thousand times ! The authority of the church, 
and its unbroken judgment, may perhaps suffice to keep men in 
some external obedience, may induce them to render an external 
consent, and to persevere in an external unity : but the church can 
of itself by no means persuade us to assent to these oracles as 
divine. In order, therefore, that we should be internally in our 
consciences persuaded of the authority of scripture, it is needful 
that the testimony of the Holy Ghost should be added. And he, 
as he seals all the doctrines of faith and the whole teaching of sal 
vation in our hearts, and confirms them in our consciences, so also 
does he give us a certain persuasion that these books, from which 
are drawn all the doctrines of faith and salvation, are sacred and 
canonical. But, you will say, this testimony is not taken from the 
books themselves : it is, therefore, external, and not inherent in the 
word. I answer : Although the testimony of the Holy Ghost be 
not, indeed, the same as the books themselves ; yet it is not 
external, nor separate, or alien from the books, because it is per 
ceived in the doctrine delivered in those books ; for we do not 
speak of any enthusiastic influence of the Spirit. But, in like 
manner as no man can certainly assent to the doctrine of faith 
except by the Spirit, so can none assent to the scriptures but by 
the same Spirit. 

But here two objections must be removed, which are proposed 
by Stapleton, of which the former is against this latter reply of 
ours, and the latter against the former. The first objection is this : 
If it be by the testimony of the Spirit that we know the scriptures, 
how comes it that churches, which have this Spirit, agree not 
amongst themselves ? For (so he argues) the Lutherans disagree 
with you Calvinists, because you receive some books which they 
reject: therefore, either you or they are without the Spirit. 
This is an objection urged also by Campian and by others. I 
answer : In the first place, it does not follow either that they who 


reject those books, or we who receive them, are without the Holy 
Spirit. For no saving truth can be known without the Holy 
Spirit ; as for example, that Christ died for us, or any other. 
This the papists will themselves allow. Yet it does not follow that 
all who have learned this truth from the Holy Spirit must agree 
in all other points of faith. Nor does it immediately follow, that 
all who are in error are without the Holy Spirit, because all errors 
are not capital. Now the reason why all who have the Holy Spirit 
do not think exactly alike of all things, is because there is not precisely 
the same equal measure of the Holy Spirit in all ; otherwise there 
would be the fullest agreement in all points. Secondly, both we 
who receive some books not received by the Lutherans, have the 
precedent of some ancient churches, and the Lutherans also, who 
reject them. For there were some churches who received these 
books (that is, the epistle of Jude, the second epistle of Peter, and 
the second and third of John), and also some who rejected them, 
and yet all meanwhile were churches of God. Thirdly, it does not 
presently follow that all have the Holy Spirit who say they have 
it. Although many of the Lutherans (as they call them) reject 
these books, yet it is not to be concluded that such is the common 
opinion of that whole church. The papists, indeed, understand and 
denote by the name of the church only the bishops and doctors ; 
but the sentiments are not to be judged of by merely a few of its 

The second objection against our former reply is to this effect : 
The scripture is not the voice of God, but the word of God ; that is, 
it does not proceed immediately from God, but is delivered me 
diately to us through others. I answer: We confess that God 
hath not spoken by himself, but by others. Yet this does not 
diminish the authority of scripture. For God inspired the prophets 
with what they said, and made use of their mouths, tongues, and 
hands : the scripture, therefore, is even immediately the voice of 
God. The prophets and apostles were only the organs of God. 
It was God who spake to the fathers in the prophets and through 
the prophets, as is plain from Heb. i. 1. And Peter says, 2 Epist. 
i. 21, that "holy men of God spake as they were moved, (pepopevovs, 
by the Holy Ghost." Therefore the scripture is the voice of the 
Spirit, and consequently the voice of God. But what though it 
were not the voice of God immediately, but only the word of 
God? Therefore (says Stapleton) it requires to be made known 
by the church like the rest) that is, like other doctrines necessary 


to salvation. But what? Is it only by the testimony of the 
church, that we know all other points of religion and doctrines of 
the faith ? Is it not the office of the Holy Spirit to teach us all 
things necessary to salvation? Mark well how Stapleton affirms 
that we learn all only from the church, and sets the Spirit and 
the church asunder. But if the Spirit teach in the church, and it 
is by the Spirit that we know the other doctrines, then why may 
we not learn from the Spirit this also, that the scripture is the 
word of God ? Let him speak and tell us, if he can. But this 
(says he) is a " matter of faith, like the rest." I confess it. But 
here he strangles himself in his own noose. For if without faith 
it cannot be understood that the scripture is the word of God, then 
is there need of some more certain testimony than the external 
approbation of the church. For the Holy Ghost is the author of 
faith, and not the church, except as an instrument, an external 
and ministerial medium. He subjoins : " But this, like the rest, 
exceeds mere human comprehension." I answer: Therefore men 
cannot give us this persuasion, but there is need of some higher, 
greater, more certain testimony than that of man. Now the church 
is an assembly of men, and is composed of men. " But this (says 
he further) should not, any more than the rest, be received by 
immediate revelations." I answer : This is no extraordinary or 
immediate revelation separate from the teaching of the books them 
selves ; because it springs, derives itself, and is perceived from the 
word itself through the same Spirit from which that word emanated. 
But I would gladly know from them, whence it is that the church 
comes to know that the scripture is the word of God. If they say, 
by a private revelation ; then they concede that extraordinary and 
private revelations are still employed, and so they establish and 
confirm enthusiasm ; for this authority they attribute even to the 
present church. If they say, by some ordinary means ; then they 
must acknowledge that the church hath this knowledge by the 
word itself. Stapleton proceeds : Now it cannot be discovered by 
reason that one book is apocryphal, another canonical ; this au 
thentic, and that spurious, any more than the rest. Therefore it 
must be proved by the church. I answer : The inference does 
not hold. For it cannot be proved by human reasons that Christ 
was born of a virgin, rose from the dead, ascended up to heaven 
with his body. Must then the whole credit of these and other 
articles depend upon the sole authority and testimony of the church 
alone ? Do we believe these things to be true upon no other 
grounds but because it pleases the church that we should thus 


believe ? Assuredly not. But what, though it were conceded that 
we came to know through the church, that this is the word of God, 
and that this teaching is true and canonical, which we do indeed 
gladly concede in a certain sense ; yet must this be understood 
so as to indicate an external, ministerial means, which God hath 
been pleased to use in instructing us, and nothing more. It is 
through the ministry of the church, and not on account of the 
church s authority. As, therefore, he who receives a message of 
great favours promised or bestowed upon him by his sovereign, does 
not believe on account of the messenger, or on the messenger s 
authority, but on account of the prince s own munificence, or because 
he sees the patent or letter signed with the prince s own hand, or 
because he recognises some other certain token ; nor believes on 
account of the servant, although through his ministry ; so we re 
ceive indeed the scriptures sent to us from God through the church, 
and yet do not believe it to be sent from God solely on the church s 
authority, but on account of the voice of God, which we recognise 
speaking clearly and expressly in the scriptures. 

I answer, secondly, If scripture cannot be proved by scripture, 
as Stapleton says, then certainly much less can it be proved by the 
church. For if Stapleton s be a good reason, that scripture cannot 
be proved by scripture, because scripture may be unknown or de 
nied, that reason will have still greater force against the church. 
For the church is no less liable to be unknown or denied than the 
scripture. Stapleton calls this a " weighty question ;" and indeed 
he must needs find it so. In truth, it is so weighty that he cannot 
support himself under it. 

But, says he, the case of the church and of the scripture is 
not the same. Why ? " Because there is no Christian who is 
ignorant of the church." In like manner, there is no Christian 
who is utterly ignorant of the scripture. The case of both, there 
fore, is the same. Do you yourself deem him a Christian who 
denies the whole scripture ? Certainly, he replies ; for he affirms that 
some Christians deny the scriptures, such as the Schwenkfeldians, 
Anabaptists, and in England the Familists 1 and Super illuminati. 
I answer, our question is about real Christians. These are not 
Christians truly but equivocally, as the papists are equivocal 
catholics. It may indeed happen that there may be some Chris 
tians who are ignorant of the canon of scripture, or have even not 
seen some books of it, but yet assent to the doctrine contained in the 

[* Disciples of Henry Nicholas of Amsterdam. See Hooker. Preface to 
E. P., Chap. iii. 9, and Mr. Keble s note, p. 184.] 


canon of scripture ; for otherwise they certainly cannot be called 
Christians. As to his assertion that there are no Christians who 
are ignorant of the church, if he mean it of the Roman church, it is 
certain that many Christians have been, and still are ignorant of it ; 
many have not. even so much as heard of it. Will he exclude all 
these from the hope of salvation ? But if he understand any other 
church, it is nothing to the purpose. However, he proves that no 
Christians are ignorant of the church, because in the Creed we be 
lieve in the church. I confess that in the Creed we do believe in 
the church, but not in this or that church, but the catholic church ; 
which is no particular assembly of men, much less the Roman syna 
gogue, tied to any one place, but the body of the elect which hath 
existed from the beginning of the world, and shall exist unto 
the end. And why do we thus believe ? Assuredly by no other 
argument than the authority of scripture, because the scriptures 
teach us that there is such a body in the world, as Augustine repeats 
a thousand times against the Donatists, not because any church 
attests or professes this proposition. But the church, says he, is 
" the means of believing all the rest ;" therefore it is the means 
also of believing the existence of the scriptures. I answer, it is in 
deed the means, not the principal or prime source; and a mean 
merely external and ministerial. But the principal mean is the 
word itself, and the prime cause is the Spirit; whereas the church is 
only an inferior organ. 

"But in the Creed," says Stapleton, "we believe in the 
church, but not in the scriptures." To this I return two an 
swers. First, since Stapleton allows that we believe in the church, 
I demand how, and on what account? If he say, on account 
of the church, then we believe a thing on account of the thing 
itself. But this is no proof even in his own opinion : for every 
proof (as he says himself elsewhere) proceeds from premises better 
known than the conclusion. Therefore, we believe the church 
through some other mean, that is, through the scripture and the 
church. Secondly, Stapleton thus rejects the scripture from the 
Creed, since he says that in the Creed we believe in the church, 
but not in the scriptures. But the scripture is not rejected from 
the Creed ; for the Creed is a compendium and epitome of the 
whole scripture, and all the articles of the Creed itself are confirmed 
out of scripture. Besides, in the Creed itself we indicate our belief 
in scripture: for when I profess that "I believe in God," I profess 
also that I believe that God speaks truth in his word, and conse 
quently, that I receive and venerate all divine scripture. For the 


word " I believe," which occurs at the commencement of the 
Creed, is by the fathers expounded in a threefold sense, that 
is, I believe God ; I believe that there is a God ; and I believe 
in God. (Credo Deo, Credo Deum, Credo in Deum). 

Stapleton goes on to observe, that the whole formal cause of 
faith is assent to God revealing something through the church. I 
answer, God does, indeed, reveal truth through the church, but so 
as through an external ministerial medium. But properly he re 
veals truth to us through the Spirit and the scripture : for though 
" Paul plant and Apollos water," yet these are of no avail unless 
" God give the increase. 1 1 Cor. iii. 6. The church can reveal 
nothing to us in a saving way without the Spirit. But nothing can 
be hence gathered to make it appear that the authority of the 
church and of scripture is not equally doubtful and obscure, nay, 
that the authority of the church is not much more so ; since it is 
certain that whatever authority the church hath depends entirely 
upon the scripture. 

So much then in reply to Stapleton s first argument : let us 
come now to the rest, which are all, as it were, inferior streams 
derived from this first argument, and referred to its confirmation. 
However, we will examine them each distinctly and severally, that 
a plain answer may be returned on our part to every argument 
which he employs. 



IN his ninth Book, chap. 5, he sets forth an egregious piece of 
reasoning to this effect : Some writings of the prophets and apostles 
have not canonical authority, and some which are not writings of 
prophets or apostles are received into the canon. Therefore the 
whole canon of scripture rests on, and is defined by, the judgment 
of the church. It ought to determine the canon of scripture ; and 
consequently the scripture hath its authority from the testimony of 
the church. 

I have three answers to this. First, it is possible that pro 
phets and apostles may have written some things in an ordinary 
way to private persons, as, for instance, David sent private letters to 


Joab. These things ought not to be received into the canon. But 
whatever they wrote as prophets, and inspired by God, for the 
public instruction of the church, have been received into the canon. 

Secondly, I demand of him, whether those writings of which he 
speaks were in themselves sacred and divine, or not? If they 
were ; then the church ought to admit and approve them by its 
testimony, as they allow themselves, and the church hath erred in 
not receiving them : for it is the office of the church to recognise 
the sacred scriptures and commend them to others. If they were 
not ; then it is certain that they were written by prophets and apo 
stles with some other design than that they should be admitted into 
the canon of scripture : so that the church neither could nor ought 
to have admitted them into that canon. 

Thirdly, no such public writing of either the prophets or the 
apostles can be produced, which hath not been received in the 
canon of the scriptures. Yet Stapleton endeavours to prove 
that there were many such writings both of prophets and apo 
stles, which the church never chose to sanction. And, in the 
first place, he enumerates certain writings of the prophets, and 
then of the apostles which were never admitted into the canon. 
By Samuel, says he, and Nathan and Gad, the Acts of David 
were written, as appears from 1 Chron. last chapter, verse 29. 
But those books are not now canonical. Therefore it is in the 
discretion of the church, either to receive books of scripture as 
canonical, or to refuse and reject them as apocryphal. I answer, 
that in that place the sacred history of the first and second of 
Samuel is meant, which was "drawn up by those three prophets, 
Samuel, Nathan, and Gad, and which Stapleton rashly denies to be 
canonical. For it is certain that both these books were not written 
by Samuel, because Samuel was dead before the end of the first 
book. Now the church always acknowledged these books to be 
canonical. But Stapleton supposes that some other history, the 
work of those distinguished prophets, is referred to; which cannot be 
established by any proof. Secondly, he says that the Acts of Solo 
mon were consigned to writing by Nathan, Ahijah and Iddo, as 
appears from 2 Chron. ix. 29. I reply, that the history there 
meant is that which is contained in the first book of Kings : or, if 
some other history be indicated, how will he prove that, when it 
was extant, it had not canonical authority ? Thirdly, he proves from 
2 Chron. xiii. 22, that the history of Abijah was written by Iddo 
the prophet, which yet is not now extant in the canon. I answer, 
that this is the same history of king Abijah which is contained in 


1 Kings xv. Fourthly, he says that the history of Jehoshaphat was 
written by the prophet Jehu ; which he proves from 2 Chron. xx. 
34. I answer, that the same history is meant which is extant 
1 Kings xvi. For it is certain that the histories of Judges, Ruth, 
Samuel and Kings, were written by many prophets : whence in 
Matth. ii. 1 , at the last verse, a passage is cited from the book 
of Judges (for it is found nowhere else); and yet Matthew uses the 
expression, "that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the pro 
phets" TO pr)9ev Sid TWV irpo^rjrwv. Whence we may undertand 
that that book was written and composed by many prophets. 
Fifthly, he says that many writings of Solomon s are now not 
extant in the canon of scripture. I answer, that this is no great 
wonder, since they have now wholly perished and are not extant 
anywhere : for I believe that no man doubts that some canonical 
pieces have perished. But if they were now extant, Stapleton 
would have to prove that it would depend upon the authority of 
the church whether they should or should not be in the canon. 
Next he brings a testimony from Augustine, de Civit. Dei, Lib. 
xvn. cap. ult. where these words occur : " There are writings of 
theirs " (meaning Zechariah, Malachi, and Haggai,) " as there are 
of others, who prophesied in great numbers : very few wrote 
pieces which had canonical authority 2 ." I answer, these things 
which Augustine says have no reference to our question. For he 
does not say that many things were written by the prophets which 
had no canonical authority; but that, out of a great many prophets, 
there were very few who wrote anything : because many prophets 
left no written compositions whatever. What he says, therefore, is, 
there were many prophets who taught the church only orally ; but 
few who wrote anything. This is plainly Augustine s sense and 
meaning : whence, by the way, we may take notice of Stapleton s 
fidelity in quoting the fathers. These, then, are Stapleton s ob 
jections concerning the writings of the prophets. Let us come now 
to those writings of the apostles which he affirms not to have been 
received into the canon. 

The first specifies the epistle to the Laodiceans, which he proves 
from Coloss. iv. 16, to have been written by Paul ; yet, says he, 

[* Whitaker supposes the reference to be to Judges xiii. 5. But a Naza- 
rite is expressed in Greek by Na^apcuos, NaVp, Nat/>, Na^palos-* never, I 
believe, by Naa>paTos.] 

[ 2 Sunt scripta eorum, sicut aliorum qui in magna multitudine prophe- 
tarunt : perpauci ea scripserunt quse auctoritatem canonis haberent. T. ix. 
p. 640.] 


that epistle is not now in the canon. I answer : No epistle of the 
kind is mentioned in that place. The apostle says, e/c AaocWe/as, 
not TTjOw AaoStKeiav, so that the epistle here referred to was not 
written to the Laodiceans, but from Laodicea. The mistake arose 
from the vulgar Latin edition, which reads, Epistolam Laodi- 
censium. Formerly, indeed, there was an epistle which passed 
under this name, as Epiphanius (contra Marcion?) and others 
remark. Faber Stapulensis counts this amongst Paul s epistles, 
but is censured on that account by Erasmus 4 . Those hold a more 
reasonable and specious opinion, who think that there was such an 
epistle, but that it is now lost. However, even that cannot be 
proved from this passage. It appears to me, that what is here 
indicated is rather that the Laodiceans had written an epistle to 
Paul, in which as there were some things which concerned the 
Colossians, and which it was important for them to know, Paul 
wished it to be read by the Colossians along with this epistle of 
his own. This I judge not incredible, and indeed much the more 
probable opinion. To this effect GEcumenius writes distinctly : 
" He does not say, that written to Laodicea, but that from Lao 
dicea ; not that from Paul to the Laodiceans, but that from the 
Laodiceans to Paul. For no doubt there was something in it which 
concerned the Colossians 5 ." These remarks QEcumenius took from 
Chrysostom. Catharinus too, a papist, acknowledges in his com 
mentary upon this place, (p. 366,) that it is not an epistle written 
by him to the Laodiceans, but one written from that place. Jerome, 
in his catalogue of ecclesiastical writers, under the head of PAUL G , 
makes mention of this epistle, but observes that it is universally 
condemned. The second Council of Nice 7 determines it to be 

[3 Whitaker is doubtless mistaken in supposing that the miserable modern 
forgery, under this title, is the Epistle to the Laodiceans used by Marcion ; 
Marcion gave this title to what we call the Epistle to the Ephesians. See 
Tertullian, c. Marc. V. xi. 17. Epiphanius loose and inconsistent statements 
misled Whitaker. Hasres. xlii. T. I. pp. 310, 319, 374.] 

[ 4 Etiam Faber, homo doctus sed aliquoties nimium candidus, diligenter 
reliquis admiscuit Epistolis. Erasm. Annot. in Col. iv. 16.] 

[ 5 ov yap e?7re TTJV wpos AaoSiKely, aXXa rrjv CK AaodiKeias ypafpeta-av ov rrjv 
OTTO HavXov Trpbs AaoSiKea?, aXAa TJ)Z/ ano A.ao8iKeo>v Trpbs ETaOAoi . Hi yap n 
TrdvTas tv avrrj &(pe\ovv KoAoo-(raeTff. p. 146. T. II. Paris. 1631.] 

[ 6 Legunt quidam et ad Laodicenses, sed ab omnibus exploditur. T. n. 
p. 826.] 

[f Kal yap TOV Qeiov > ATTOO~TO\OV irpbs AaoSiKety (peperai 7r\ao~Tr) eTTtoroA?/. 

Art. 6. p. 5. Concil. Labb. T. vn. p. 475.] 


spurious, and rejects it as supposititious. Theophylact 1 thinks that 
the first epistle to Timothy is meant, because it was written from 
Laodicea ; Tertullian, in his fifth book against Marcion 2 , the epistle 
to the Ephesians. 

As to what Stapleton subjoins, that there were some books 
written by Peter, and a certain book also of the travels of Paul and 
Thecla 3 , which are not in the canon ; I answer, that these books 
were always deemed spurious impostures by the church. Jerome 
(in Cat. under PETER 4 ) rejects them as apocryphal, and not 
written by Peter. Let me therefore say of these, as we read that 
Augustine formerly said of some still more ancient (Civit. Dei, 
Lib. xvm. c. 38) : " These writings the chastity of the canon hath 
not admitted, not because the authority of those men who pleased 
God is rejected, but because these are not believed to be their 
works 5 ." It rests not therefore with the church s discretion to 
make the writings of prophets and apostles canonical or not canon 
ical, to reject what is, or to admit what is not, canonical. So far 
concerning Stapleton s second argument. 



STAPLETON S third argument is contained in the 6th chapter 
of his ninth book, and is to this effect. It is owing to the judgment 
and authority of the church, that apocryphal writings of the first 

Tiff Se TIV r\ < AaoSiKtias ; 77 frpos Tipofaov irp^rrj. avrrj yap e* 
). Theophyl. in Gol. iv. 16, p. 676, Lond. 1636.] 

[ 2 Prsetereo hie et de alia Epistola, quam nos ad Ephesios praescriptam 
habemus, hseretici vero ad Laodicenos. V. c. 11.] 

[ 3 Grabe Spicil. I. p. 95, et seqq.] 

[ 4 Libri autem ejus, e quibus unus Actorum ejus inscribitur, alms Eran- 
gelii, tertius prsedicationis, quartus Apocalypsis, quintus Judicii, inter apo- 
cryphas scripturas reputantur. T. n. p. 814.] 

[ 6 Sed ea castitas Canonis non recepit, non quod eorum hominum qui 
Deo placuerunt, reprobetur auctoritas, sed quod ista non credantur eorum 
esse. T. ix. p. 685.] 


kind, such as were formerly not certainly canonical but doubtful, 
were after a while admitted into the canon. Therefore, &c. He 
calls those books Apocryphal of the first class, concerning which 
doubts were at first entertained in the church, although they were 
afterwards ultimately received. Such are those whom this same 
author and other papists call Deutero-eanonical. For those which 
form the second rank of canonical, are the first rank of apocryphal 
writings : of which kind, in the old Testament, are Tobit, Judith, 
Ecclesiasticus, and those other books concerning which we have 
disputed at large in the first Question ; in the new, the Epistle to 
the Hebrews, the Apocalypse, the second and third Epistles of 
John, the second of Peter, the story of the woman taken in adul 
tery, the Epistle of Jude, and the Epistle of James. Together 
with these Stapleton, in the fifth chapter of this book, enumerates 
the book of the Shepherd, the Epistle of Barnabas, the Acts of 
Paul, the Gospel according to the Hebrews, and the travels of 
Paul, styling these also Apocryphal of the first class, although books 
which neither now nor heretofore were ever received into the canon, 
which all those other books of the new Testament have long since 
been. Nevertheless this man tells us that all these pieces are of 
the same rank, kind, and nature, and that whatever difference is 
made between them results entirely from the circumstance that the 
church hath judged some canonical, others not, received the one 
set, and rejected the other. But there is a wide difference between 
them besides this : otherwise the church could not make such a 
difference between writings, all of which were really in the same 
predicament. For if, as Stapleton says, all these books be of the 
same kind, rank, and nature, why hath the church received the 
one part rather than the other ? But now let us answer this argu 
ment distinctly and in form. The answer shall be fourfold. 

Firstly, I say that the church never did receive, by its judgment 
and approbation, those books of the old Testament which they call 
Deutero-canonical, or Apocryphal of the first class ; which point 
we have sufficiently established in the first Question of this contro 
versy. If they say the church hath received them, let them tell 
us when, and in what council ? Now whatever councils they are 
able to produce are merely recent ; and no reason can be assigned 
why canonical books should lie so long unsanctioned by the autho 
rity of the church. 

Secondly, I say that the church neither could, nor ought to 
have received them into the canon. For the church cannot make 
r 20 



those books canonical and divine, which are not really in themselves 
canonical, sacred, and divine. Even the papists themselves do not 
ascribe so much power to the church, whose office terminates in 
declaring those books to be canonical, and as such commending 
them to the people, which are really and in themselves canonical. 
Now we have already proved that these books possess no such 
character. The council of Laodicea expressly rejects them as non- 
canonical writings, fiifiXia aKavovia-ra. Jerome determines that 
no religious dogma can be proved by them : whereas, if they were 
canonical, the doctrines of religion might be established from them 
just as well as from the rest. 

Thirdly, we confess that formerly doubts were entertained con 
cerning certain books of the new Testament, as the Epistle to the 
Hebrews and others, which books were nevertheless afterwards 
received into the canon. But we deny that it is merely on the 
church s authority that these books either are, or are accounted, 
canonical. For I demand, what reason was it that induced or im 
pelled the church at length to receive them ? Certainly no other 
cause but this, that it perceived and recognised the doctrine in 
them to be plainly divine and inspired by God. Why then may 
not the same reason persuade us also to receive them ? Any 
other answer which they may give will assign a wholly uncertain 

Fourthly, although in some churches doubts prevailed concern 
ing these books of the new Testament, yet other churches received 
them. So Eusebius writes concerning these epistles ; as specially 
of the Epistle of James, Lib. n. c. 23. For although he uses the 
term vc0eve<rOat\ yet he acknowledges that it was publicly received 
(SeSrj/uLocrieviJievrjv) in many churches : which these men can not say 
of the Epistle of Barnabas, or the Gospel according to the Hebrews, 
or other such like spurious or adulterated pieces. But if, as Sta- 
pleton says, these books were indeed equal amongst themselves 
and of the same rank (that is, these canonical books and those 
spurious ones which he enumerates), and if the church have caused 
them to be of unequal authority with respect to us, then the church 
hath fallen into a grievous error : for the church ought not to 
have caused pieces of equal authority intrinsically to appear other 
wise to us. Now Stapleton says that these books are of the same 

[! IcrTfov e coy vo0verat p,tv o/icos de Ivptv KOL ravras [this and the 

Epistle of JlldeJ /xera TWV Aowrcoz> (V TrAe/arcus 8e77/>iocrtet)juevas 
T. i. p. 175. ed. Heinich. Compare Hug s Einl. i. 119.] 


rank in themselves; but in respect of us, he ascribes it to the 
church s judgment that some are deemed canonical, and not others. 
But surely the church cannot change the quality of books, but only 
declare them to us to be such as they really are in themselves. 
Therefore, if they were all equal, an equal judgment ought to be 
passed upon them all. That this rests in the arbitrary decision of 
the church, he will never be able to establish : let us nevertheless 
attend to the manner in which he attempts to prove it. 

Stapleton proceeds to cite many testimonies of the fathers, of 
which I will only examine the three principal, and pass over what 
is irrelevant to the question. In the first place, then, he objects to 
us Eusebius (H. E. Lib. in. c. 19, or in the Greek, 25), who affirms 
that the plain mark of the canonical books is the tradition of the 
church. I answer : Eusebius there enumerates all the books of the 
new Testament, as well those which were always received by all, 
as those which were rejected by some, and concerning which doubts 
were then entertained in some churches. Eusebius s own words are 
as follow : "It was needful that we should draw up such a cata 
logue of these, distinguishing those pieces w r hich, according to the 
ecclesiastical tradition, are true and unfeigned and acknowledged 
scriptures, from those which are not part of the Testament 2 ." To 
which testimony of Eusebius I briefly return a threefold reply. 
Firstly, we should allow no weight in this matter to the authority 
of Eusebius, because it has no force to establish what Stapleton 
undertakes to prove. For, while he says that he follows the 
ecclesiastical tradition, he distinguishes from the canonical books 
those very pieces which the papists themselves maintain to be 
canonical, as the Book of Tobit, Judith, &c. the Epistle to the 
Hebrews, the Epistle of James, the Apocalypse, &c. Therefore, if 
that tradition which Eusebius follows be true, it will prevail as 
much against the papists themselves as against us. And if that 
tradition be so certain a mark of the books, then the authority of 
some books of the canon is utterly destroyed, as the Epistle of 
James and other epistles, which this tradition of Eusebius, so much 
relied on by Stapleton, banishes from the sacred canon. Let him 
then consider for himself what weight is to be allowed to this tes 
timony. Secondly, I deny not that ecclesiastical tradition is a means 
of proof, whereby it may be shewn what books are canonical and 

[ dvayKaioas de KOI TOVTWV ojuco? TOV K.ara\oyov TTfTronj peQa, dcaKpLvavT? ras re 
Kara rr]v KK\T](Tia(TTiKriv Trapadoa-iv d.Xrjde is Kal GTrXaorovs KCU dva)iJ.o\oyrjfjLevas 
ypcxpas, KOI ras a\\as Trapa ravras, OVK tvdiaQrJKOvs p.ev, K. r. A. T. I. p. 247.] 



what not canonical ; yet I say that it is a merely external means 
of proof. Now, in order that we should be thoroughly persuaded 
of the authority of the canonical books, there is need besides of the 
internal testimony of the Holy Spirit. In like manner, with respect 
to God himself and the Trinity, and other articles of our faith, the 
church gives us instruction, and this tradition ought to have with 
all the force of a great argument : and if any were to deny those 
articles, we should press them with the authority of the church as 
an external argument, which hath in it all the strength necessary 
for convincing and refuting the gainsayers. Yet, unless the inter 
nal testimony of the Holy Spirit be added, fortified by the ample 
authority of scripture, the human mind will never give a solid 
assent with entire acquiescence to those articles. Thirdly, Eusebius 
writes that he enumerates these books as canonical, not on account 
of the ecclesiastical tradition, but according to the ecclesiastical 
tradition, which is a very different thing. His words are not Sid 
Tt}v TrapdSocriv, but Kara TY\V TrapaScKTiv. Those who suppose 
that there is no difference between these two are greatly deceived. 
For it is through the church s ministry that we believe whatever 
we believe, but not on account of the church s authority ; since our 
faith relies upon and is confirmed by an authority much more august, 
certain and clear, than that of the church. Let this suffice con 
cerning the testimony of Eusebius. 

The second testimony cited by Stapleton is taken from Augus 
tine, De Doct. Christ. Lib. n. c. 8, where these words occur: "The 
believer will observe this rule with respect to the canonical 
scriptures, to prefer those which are received by all churches to 
those which some do not receive. In the case of those which are 
not received by all, he will prefer those which the more and 
more dignified churches receive to those which fewer churches or 
churches of less authority admit. But if he should find some 
received by the greater number, and others by the more digni 
fied (though indeed such a case cannot easily be found), yet I 
think that the two classes should be deemed of equal authority 1 ." 

[* Tenebit igitur hunc modum in scripturis canonicis, ut eas quse ab 
omnibus accipiuntur ecclesiis prseponat eis quas qusedam non accipiunt: 
in eis vero quae non accipiuntur ab omnibus, prseponat eas quas plures 
gravioresque accipiunt eis quas pauciores minorisque auctoritatis ecclesise 
tenent. Si autem alias invenerit a pluribus, alias a gravioribus baberi, 
(quamquam hoc facile invenire non possit,) sequalis tamen auctoritatis eas 
habendas puto. p. 30. Opp. T. in.] 


Thus Augustine ; where (says Stapleton) he shews that this whole 
truth, and this difference between the books, depends upon the 
various judgment of the church. I answer, that Stapleton does 
not consider what he says. For, what ? shall this whole truth 
and difference between the books depend upon the various judg 
ment of the church ? Must the truth and authority of the cano 
nical scripture be made thus to hang upon the judgment of the 
church, and that judgment itself a variable one? What asser 
tion could possibly be more absurd or more insulting than this? 
Churches indeed may judge variously and inconstantly, as was 
plainly the case in the ancient churches : but the scriptures of 
God are always the same, consistent with themselves, and admit 
ting of no variety. But Augustine in that place is instructing 
tyros and novices, and exhorting them in the first place to attend 
to the church as their mistress and admonisher, and to follow her 
judgment. Nor will any one deny that this is pious and sound 
advice. We do not immediately understand everything ourselves ; 
we must therefore listen to the church which bids us read these 
books. Afterwards, however, when we either read them ourselves, or 
hear others read them, and duly weigh what they teach, we believe 
their canonicity, not only on account of the testimony or authority 
of the church, but upon the inducement of other and more certain 
arguments, as the witness of the Holy Spirit, and the majesty of 
that heavenly doctrine, which shines forth in the books themselves 
and the whole manner of their teaching. Augustine, therefore, 
would have us ascribe much, but not all, to the church in this 
matter. But two points against the papists may be gathered from 
this place. First, that Augustine never understood or recognised 
such a public and certain judgment of the church as the papists 
feign; that is, an external judgment, and that passed by the 
Roman Church, which all Christians should be bound to stand by 
and obey : for then he would have desired a disciple to follow 
this judgment, and consult only the Roman Church. Secondly, it 
may be gathered from this place, that churches may be true 
churches of Christ, and yet judge variously of certain canonical 
books. Whence it manifestly appears that all who have the Holy 
Spirit do not think alike of all the books of scripture. But, to reply 
briefly and in one word, I say that the dictate, and voice, and 
commendation of the church is the occasion and first rudiment of 
the faith wherewith we believe these books to be divine and given 
by inspiration of God ; but that the form and full assurance depend 


upon the internal witness of the Holy Spirit, which must needs be 
added before we can certainly know and hold undoubtingly that 
these books are canonical and divine. 

The third testimony produced by Stapleton, which I have re 
solved to answer, is taken from Augustine s eleventh book against 
Faustus the Manichean, chap. 5, where Augustine writes to this 
effect : " Distinguished from the books of later authors is the ex 
cellence of the canonical authority of the old and new Testaments ; 
which, having been established in the time of the apostles, hath 
through the successions of bishops and propagations of churches 
been set as it were in a lofty tribunal, demanding the obedience of 
every faithful and pious understanding 1 ." Hence it appears, says 
Stapleton, that the scripture is set in this high tribunal by the ap 
probation and authority of the church. I answer : Augustine writes 
that the canon of the scriptures was established by the apostles, 
and is now set in this elevated place through the successions of 
bishops and propagations of churches. What does this prove 
against us ? Who is so mad as not to perceive that the apostles 
established the canonical scripture, and that pious bishops and 
churches rendered it the highest reverence? But does it follow 
thence, that we do not know what books are canonical by any 
other testimony than that of the church ; or that the scripture hath 
no other authority with us than that which the church assigns to 
it ? Assuredly not. But from this passage of Augustine we draw 
the following observations against the papists. First, that the 
canon of scripture was settled in the time of the apostles, and con 
signed in a certain number of books, and that, therefore, those more 
recent councils, by means of which the papists prove that certain 
apocryphal books of the old Testament are canonical, are of no avail 
against us, since the apostles themselves had determined in their own 
times what books should be received into the canon of the old Tes 
tament. Secondly, that the books of the new Testament were 
written and confirmed by the apostles themselves, and a definite 
number of books marked out. Thirdly, that if the canon of scrip 
ture were settled by the apostles themselves, it is not now in the 
power of the church to add any book to this canon, and so increase 

f 1 Distincta est a posterioribus libris excellentia canonicae auctoritatis 
veteris et novi Testament!, quse, apostolorum confirmata temporibus, per 
successiones episcoporum et propagationes ecclesiarum tanquam in sede 
quadam sublimiter constituta est, cui serviat omnis fidelis et plus intellectus. 
p. 267. Opp. T. x.] 


the number of the canonical books ; which yet Stapleton affirms in 
the 14th chapter of this book. Jerome in his Catalogue, and other 
authors write that John lived the longest of all the apostles, so as 
to be able to see all the books and confirm them, and, if any 
fictitious books were published, to distinguish them from the sacred 
and truly canonical books. Jerome 2 , in his Catalogue, under the 
article LUKE, relates that a certain book concerning the acts of Paul 
was presented to John, but that the author was discovered and the 
book condemned by the authority of the apostle. Tertullian 3 in 
his Prescriptions says, that the very autographs of the apostles 
themselves were preserved in his time safe in the churches ; and 
the same writer remarks in the same place, " We determine the 
document of the gospel to have the apostles for its authors 4 ." Au 
gustine, Epist. 19 5 , asserts that these scriptures were received to the 
height of canonical authority by the apostles themselves. The fact 
that afterwards some persons entertained doubts of certain parts had 
its origin not in the scriptures themselves, but in our infirmity. 

But perhaps some one may object : If the apostles, who were 
the pastors of the church, had the power of consigning the 
canon and confirming the canonical scriptures, then the same privi 
lege will belong to the other pastors of the church who succeed 
them, when assembled together in one place. I answer, the apo 
stles may be considered under a twofold aspect : firstly, as the 
principal teachers of the church ; secondly, as certain immediate 
organs, chosen by God and designated for the special office of 
writing and publishing the sacred books. This was so peculiar 
to themselves, that in this respect they were placed out of the con 
dition of all other men. Now the apostles consignation of the 
canon of scripture is to be referred not to the authority of the 
church, but to that of God. It was not as the ministers of the 
church that they consigned it, but as the unerring organs of the 
Holy Ghost, fortified by a divine authority, and commended to the 

[ 2 Opp. T. n. 827. This piece was the story of Thecla, printed by Grabo 
in the first vol. of his Spicilegium.J 

[ 3 Percurre ecclesias apostolicas, apud quas ipsse adhuc cathedrae apos- 
tolorum suis locis prsesidentur, apud quas ipsse authenticse literse eorum 
recitantur. c. 36. ed. Leopold. Lips. 1841. P. 3. p. 25.] 

[ 4 This is a mistake. The passage cited occurs in the 4th Book, Adv. 
Marc. c. 2. (p. 147): Constituimus imprimis evangelicum instrumentum 
apostolos auctores habere.] 

[ 5 Ep. 82. Opp. T. n. p. 253. Commendata. . . ab ipsis apostolis.j 


faith of all. For if they had done this as ordinary ministers, then 
all pastors who succeed the apostles would have the like power. 
Whence it is manifest that this authority of theirs was of an 
extraordinary kind. Therefore the apostles consigned the canon of 
scripture, not as men or ministers, but as the representative of 
God, the tongue of the Holy Spirit, and, as it were, a divine 
oracle. Wherefore this act can avail nothing towards establishing 
the perpetual authority of the church. And so much for Stapleton s 
third argument. 



Now follows his fourth argument, which is handled in Lib. ix. 
c. 7, and is to this effect : The apocryphal books of the second 
class are therefore not accounted divine, because the church hath 
never chosen to approve them. Therefore this whole matter 
(namely, of receiving and rejecting books) depends upon the au 
thority and judgment of the church. He calls those books apocryphal 
of the second class, which have been published under the name 
of the apostles, either by heretics, or philosophers, or others : of 
which kind were, the revelation of Paul, the gospel of Judas 
Iscariot, the gospel of Thomas, the gospel of Matthias, the gospel 
of Andrew, and the gospel of Peter, which pope Innocent I. in his 
third epistle testifies to have been published by philosophers. 
These books, says Stapleton, the church hath rejected and repu 
diated. Therefore, it appertains to the church to determine concern 
ing canonical books, and to consign a certain canon of scripture. 

I answer, that this argument proves nothing ; and that for 
three reasons. The first is, because we have already granted that 
it appertains to the office, and consequently to the authority, of the 
church, to distinguish the true and genuine books from spurious. 
For it possesses the Spirit of God, under whose instruction it hears 
the voice of its Spouse and recognises his teaching. For that same 
Spirit, by whom those books were written, still resides in the 
church, although not always in the same measure. All this, there 
fore, we allow ; but we demand to know how it follows from these 


premises, that we can judge by no other criterion than the church s 
determination of their non-canonicity, that these books deserve to 
be rejected and refused? Would any one draw so loose and in 
consequent a conclusion, who trusted to be able to gain his cause by 
legitimate arguments? For our parts, we affirm that there are 
other criterions. Let them tell us upon what grounds the church 
deems these books spurious ; and I will answer, that we also may 
arrive at the same conclusion upon the same inducements. Secondly, 
we concede that against heretics an argument may be taken from 
the authority and consent of the church, shewing that, since the 
whole church hath rejected those books, we justly allow them to 
deserve rejection. For who is there so bold and impudent as not 
to be greatly moved by the authority of the catholic church ? It 
hath seen and examined these books, and can judge better of them 
than any private person, because endowed with a greater and more 
ample abundance of the Holy Spirit and of judgment : since it 
hath, with so much judgment and deliberation, rejected certain 
books, we ought not, without any reason, to retain them. This ar 
gument, therefore, hath very great weight against heretics, and 
heretics may be very much pressed and urged by it ; nor yet 
heretics alone, but other opponents also who would either receive 
supposititious books, or reject really canonical. This argument 
the fathers frequently used ; but, nevertheless, have nowhere said 
that all this depended upon the authority of the church, or that 
this was either the sole or the greatest argument, whereby heretics 
and other adversaries, who held wrong sentiments concerning these 
books, might be refuted. Nay, some of those very fathers whom 
Stapleton cites have used other arguments upon this subject, as will 
appear presently. Thirdly, therefore, those fathers who used this 
argument which is derived from the authority of the church, did 
not reject these apocryphal books of the second class merely on 
account of the church s authority, and solely upon the church s 
external judgment delivered as it were in court ; but on account of 
other proofs which were taken and derived out of the books them 
selves. For those books had generally open errors and perverse 
doctrines, from which the church could easily determine that they 
were fictitious and spurious books, and not truly canonical. This is 
evident from the testimony of those very fathers, whom Stapleton 
alleges in his own behalf in this cause, that is, Eusebius and 

Eusebius, in his third book, chap. xxv. of the Greek copy, 


speaking of the gospels of Thomas, Peter, Matthias, and other apo 
cryphal books of the second class, explains at the end of his dis 
course, why these books were rejected by the church, in the following 
words: "The very diction, character, and phraseology, are foreign 
from the apostolic. Their drift is widely different from the or 
thodox religion and doctrine, and therefore they are deservedly 
rejected as spurious books and figments of the heretics." It is better 
to hear Eusebius^s own words : Hoppw Se TTOV KCU 6 
Trapa TO rj9o$ TO airoGToXucov eyaAXaret ^apaKTijpy r\ TG 
Kctl TWV GV auTois <pepoimGvwv irpoaipeais, TrXcla Tov bcrov 
d\rj9ovs op9o$o^ia$ diracovcra, OTL Se aipeTiKcov dvopcov ava- 
a Tvy^avet (jafpws TrapidTrj^iv oOev ov& GV voOots 
KdTaTaKTeov, dXX cos aroTra TvdvTrj KCU. cvao eflf) irapai- 
Here we may remark Stapleton s fidelity. He would 
fain prove from the testimony of Eusebius, that these books are to 
be rejected for no other reason but because the church hath rejected 
them ; and he cites a place from this very chapter, and from the 
words immediately preceding, where it is said : " None of the ec 
clesiastical writers hath ever vouchsafed to make mention of these 
books in his writings 2 ." Here he breaks off the testimony of 
Eusebius : whereas the words quoted above follow immediately, 
which he hath altogether omitted, because they make against 
himself. In those words Eusebius tells us that, besides the testi 
mony of the church, there are two other ways and marks whereby 
we may perceive that these books are not canonical : first, rw 
XapctKTrjpi Trjs (ppcKrecos, from the style and character, because 
the apostles never wrote or spoke after such a fashion ; whence it 
appears that, in the opinion of Eusebius, the phrase and diction is 
a mark of the canonical books : secondly, T*J yvco^rj /ecu r^J 
Trpocupeaei, from the sentiments and design ; that is, from the 
kind of doctrine delivered in these books, which, says Eusebius, is 
inexpressibly different from sound doctrine and orthodox religion, 
so that they not only should not be received, but should be re 
jected and abhorred as the impure and wicked productions of the 
heretics. Yet Stapleton would fain persuade us that these books 
ought to be rejected upon no other account but because the church 
hath rejected them. Besides, Eusebius in the same book, chap, 32, 3 

t 1 T. i. pp. 24750. ed. Heinichen.] 

[2 QJJ/ ovdev,)s ev arvyypdp.iJ.aTi, rwv Kara diado^as 
TIS avrfp els fj.vijfj,rjv dyaye iv i^taxrey. Id. ibid.] 
[ 3 Euseb. H. E. m. c. 38. pp. 280, 1. ut supra.} 


rejects the dispute of Peter with Apion, on account of its not 
maintaining the pure unblemished signature of apostolic and or 
thodox doctrine. Qv$e yap, says he, KaOapov ct7rocrTo\iKrjs opOo- 
So^ias airocrw^ei TOV -^apaKrrjpa : as much as to say, it is manifest 
that this dispute was not held by an apostle, since it wants the true 
and genuine mark of apostolical faith and preaching ; it does not 
agree with the doctrine of Peter, and therefore it is falsely ascribed 
to Peter. 

So much for the testimony of Eusebius. I proceed now to 
Augustine, who certainly never wrote as Stapleton affirms him 
to have written, but to a far different effect. He does not say 
that these books were held to be apocryphal solely because they 
were full of lies, and contained many things impious and false. In 
his 98th tractate upon John, having mentioned the revelation of 
Paul, he subjoins, that it is not received by the church: but 
wherefore ? Is it because it was placed in the judgment of the 
church alone to receive or not receive it ? By no means ; but 
because it was " feigned" by certain " vain" men, and because it 
was "full of fables 4 ." Well then, do we reject, upon no other 
account but the church s testimony, a book " feigned by vain men, 
and full of fables ?" Yea, rather we reject it for being such. The 
same Augustine, against Faustus the Manichean, Lib. xxn. c. 79, 
says that the Manichees read certain books written by " stitchers- 
together of fables 5 ." He means the gospels of Matthias, Andrew, 
Peter, and those other books which Stapleton hath before enu 
merated. These books therefore were not received by the church, 
because they were full of fables, not merely because the church 
chose to reject them. Besides, the same Augustine, in his work 
de coneensu Evangelistarum, Lib. i. c. I, 6 discusses the question 
why, since so many had written of the actions and doctrine both of 
Christ and of the apostles, only four gospels and the Acts of the 
Apostles were received, and assigns two reasons : first, because the 
men who wrote those other books were not such as the church 
deemed worthy of credit, that is, were not endowed with the extra 
ordinary gifts of the Holy Spirit, or so furnished for the task as 
all those ought to be who write of such sacred and divine matters ; 

[ 4 Qua occasione vani quidam Apocalypsin Pauli, quam sane non recipit 
ecclesia, nescio quibus fabulis plenam, stultissima prsesumptione finxerunt. 
Opp. T. iv. p. 982.] 

[ 5 Legunt scripturas apocryphas Manichsei, a nescio quibus sutoribus 
fabularum sub apostolorum nomine scriptas, etc. T. x. p. 490.] 

[ 6 T. iv. p. 1. Bassan. 1797.] 


secondly, because they did not write with the same fidelity, but 
introduced many things which clash and are at variance with the 
catholic faith and rule of apostolic doctrine. Therefore, the fathers 
themselves allow that there are other arguments for rejecting these 
books, besides the sole authority of the church. As to the Acts of 
the Apostles, Augustine writes in that same place, that no others 
wrote with the same fidelity as Luke, and therefore that his book 
only was received. What could possibly be spoken more plainly ? 
These books were at variance with the rule and analogy of faith, 
and therefore ought not to have been received, neither could the 
church receive them, nor do otherwise than reject and condemn 
such books. Now in like manner as the church formerly rejected 
those books upon this account, so we also would, on the same 
account, now reject and condemn them, if they were still extant. 

So much for the fourth argument brought by Stapleton. It re 
mains now that we address ourselves to his fifth. 



STAPLETON S fifth argument is contained in the eighth chapter 
of his ninth book, and is to this effect : Heretics rejecting any part 
of scripture, or persons doubting any canonical book, are refuted by 
the authority and tradition of the church. Therefore it is the 
privilege of the church to consign the canon of scripture. Here he 
is very large in his citations of testimonies from Augustine, yet to 
no advantage of his cause ; since they in no way weaken ours, but 
prove a totally different thing, and therefore might be wholly 

I answer, therefore, that this argument is inconsequential : 
heretics are refuted by the authority of the church; therefore 
there is no other stronger argument by which the canon of scrip 
ture can be established. This is just as if one were to argue 
thus : atheists who deny the existence of God are refuted by the 
authority of the church, which hath ever confessed one God, the 
maker of all things ; therefore there is no other argument whereby 
either we or others can be convinced of God s existence, no more 
certain reason whereby either they may be refuted, or we esta 
blished in the truth. Yea, rather the creatures themselves the 
heaven and the earth -cry out that there is a God, as saith the 


prophet : " The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firma 
ment sheweth his handy-work." This is a more certain argument 
for the confutation and conviction of the atheists than the testi 
mony of the church ; but for the most certain argument of all is 
the testimony .of the Spirit, without which it is in vain that all 
other proofs are applied. It is manifest therefore, that this is a 
plain fallacy of inconsequence, when our adversary disputes thus : 
this is an argument, therefore it is the sole argument, or there is 
no other argument besides. The inconsequence of such reasoning 
will easily appear from a parallel instance, The philosophers may be 
so refuted by arguments of their own sort, as to be forced to acknow 
ledge the truth of our religion : are there then no other but philo 
sophical arguments by which they can be refuted ? Far from it. 

However, to return a fuller answer : we observe that the 
fathers have indeed used this argument, and that we also may 
use it against the heretics ; because, since heretics are without the 
Holy Spirit, and are ignorant of the phraseology and sense of 
scripture, they will doubtless be more moved by the authority and 
testimony of men, than either of God or of the scripture. They 
attribute much to the testimony of men, so as that there is no 
external argument with which, for the most part, they can be 
pressed more strongly and effectually. For such reasoning as this 
hath ever had very great weight and influence with all, even the 
worst of men : the church hath ever judged these books canonical ; 
therefore you ought not to reject, or doubt concerning them. A 
man must be shameless indeed, who will not be moved by this 
argument. But it is one thing to force men to acknowledge the 
scriptures, and quite another to convince them of their truth. 
Heretics may perhaps be forced not only by the authority and 
testimony of the church, but also by the style of scripture, and 
the exact harmony between the old and new Testaments ; which 
two points are of no less avail than the testimony of the church for 
inducing us to confess that these books are canonical : but to per 
suade our souls thoroughly, it is not these or any other arguments 
of the same kind that can avail, but only the voice of the Holy 
Spirit speaking inwardly in our hearts. For in like manner as a 
man may be compelled by many arguments taken from nature to 
confess the being of God, and yet will never meanwhile be 
persuaded of it in his conscience, until the Holy Spirit hath 
infused this faith and persuasion into his heart ; so we may indeed 
be compelled by the authority of the church to acknowledge the 


canonicity of the scripture, and yet can never be brought to 
acquiesce in it as a firm and solid truth, until the internal testimony 
of the Holy Spirit be added. And this argument persuades not 
others but ourselves, and prevails not upon others but upon our 
selves. We do not therefore endeavour to refute others by the 
secret testimony of the Spirit, since it is peculiar to the individual, 
private and internal ; but by common arguments taken from the 
books themselves, and from the judgment of the church, which are 
of such a nature as to move any one not wholly abandoned, and to 
leave him nothing to say against them. But it is not sufficient 
for us that our judgment should be compelled and coerced ; the 
Holy Spirit must excite our whole mind to yield assent. Now 
although the fathers frequently use this argument [from authority], 
they do not therefore take away other arguments ; so that the 
papists, Staple ton and the rest, err greatly in leaving us no others. 
We, for our part, do not take away this argument, as they falsely 
affirm of us, but allow it to be good, and make use of it ; but con 
tend nevertheless that there are some other arguments of a firmer 
and more certain nature. 

It is not necessary that we should reply severally to all those 
testimonies which Stapleton adduces, since we fully allow that 
they are all most true. The clearest and strongest testimony 
which he alleges is taken from Augustine s book contra Epistol. 
Fund. c. 5 ; where Augustine, being about to cite something from 
the Acts of the Apostles (which book the Manichees rejected, 
because, Acts ii., the Holy Ghost is said to have descended upon 
the apostles, whereas they affirmed that his inspiration belonged 
solely to themselves), he prefaces the quotation with these words : 
" I must needs believe this book, if I believe the gospel, since 
catholic authority commends both books to me alike 1 ." Therefore 
(says Stapleton) we repose faith in the canonical books solely on 
account of the church s authority. I answer, as I have frequently 
done already, that we are indeed compelled by the authority of 
the church to believe these books canonical, but that we do not 
depend upon this argument alone, since we are supplied with other 
and stronger evidence. Heretics indeed are coerced by this one 
argument, and it is specially to be urged against obstinate persons ; 
but those who are not disturbed by passion, not dishonest, not 

[* Necesse est me credere huic libro, si credo Evangelic, cum utramque 
scripturam similiter mihi catliolica commendat auctoritas. T. x. p. 185.] 


obstinate, but honest and desirous of truth, may be persuaded by 
many other arguments. So much may be proved from Augustine 
himself in his book de Utilit. Credendi, cap. 3, where he enume 
rates several other arguments, such as these : first, the order of 
the things ; secondly, the causes of the sayings and acts ; thirdly, 
the exact agreement of the old Testament with the new, " so as 
that not a tittle is left which is not in unison." These arguments 
must be allowed to have great force in them ; but, since heretics 
pay but little care and attention to such matters, they must be 
pressed with the authority of the church. The same Augustine 
also, in the 5th chapter of that same book, writes that he can 
easily persuade any one that this or that book of scripture is cano 
nical, if he be met with a candid mind not obstinate in its preju 
dices. And in chap. 2, he gives the reason why he makes such 
frequent use of this argument derived from the authority of the 
church, and handles it so diligently, namely, because " the 
scriptures may be popularly accused, but cannot be popularly 
defended." For the Manichees rendered the old Testament odious 
with the people by alleging the adultery of David, Jacob s 
marriage with two sisters, and many similar things to be found in 
the old Testament, upon which they declaimed largely to the 
populace. This is the popular accusation alluded to by Augustine. 
When therefore the holy father was anxious to defend the old 
Testament, and the scripture itself supplied no such popular argu 
ment ; he recalled his adversaries to the common authority of the 
church, which was an argument no less popular than their own. 
Now we have said enough upon Stapleton s fifth argument. 



His sixth argument is contained in the ninth chapter of his 
ninth book, and is taken from the authority of Augustine, contra 
Epist. Fund. c. 5, where he says: "I would not believe the gospel, 
if the authority of the catholic church did not move me 2 ." These 

[ 2 Ego vero non crederem evangelic, nisi me catholicse ecclesise com- 
moveret auctoritas See Laud s Conference, $. 16. n. 19. p. 81. et seqq. 
Lond. 1639.] 


words of Augustine, says Stapleton, have distressed the protestants. 
Doubtless they have, and no wonder, since, as he confesses in the 
same place, they have deceived even some of the schoolmen also. 
They are indeed special favourites, and always in the mouths of 
the papists generally; so that a papist can scarce exchange three 
words with you, without presently objecting this testimony of 
Augustine. This argument is answered by Calvin, Instit. Lib. T. c.7. 
and by Musculus and Peter Martyr, by alleging that Augustine 
speaks of himself as a Manichean; that he meant that he, when a 
Manichean, was moved by the authority of the church to believe 
the scriptures. Musculus interprets the words so as to take crede- 
rem for credidissem, and commoveret for commovisset ; or, " I, 
that is, when a Manichean, or if I were a Manichean, would not 
believe the gospel, &c." And indeed this interpretation is most 
true : for it is evident from the same chapter that Augustine is 
speaking of himself as a Manichean. In the words immediately pre 
ceding he says : " What would you do with one who said, I do not 
believe?" Then he subjoins : "But I would not believe the gospel, 
&c." He speaks, therefore, of himself in an unbelieving state. And 
in the same chapter, in the words immediately following, he says : 
" Those whom I obeyed when they said to me, Believe the gospel, 
why should I not obey when they tell me, Believe not Mani?" 
Whence it is plain that he speaks of himself as an unbeliever, and 
informs us how he first was converted from a Manichean to be a 
catholic, namely, by listening to the voice of the church. 

But Stapleton denies this, and endeavours to prove that 
he speaks of himself as a catholic by several arguments. His 
first reason is, because an infidel does not allow anything to the 
authority of the church. I answer, that Augustine was not alto 
gether an infidel. He was indeed a heretic, but one most desirous 
of truth, and no obstinate heretic. He was a heretic, not from 
malice, but from error of opinion. Nor did he doubt, even when 
he was a heretic, that he ought to agree and communicate with the 
true church, ^although he did not judge aright which was the true 
church. Those who are so disposed are easily moved by the 
authority of the true church. Stapleton s second reason is, because 
a heretic is not moved by the authority of the catholic church, 
which he does not acknowledge. I answer, that Augustine speaks 
of the church as he thought of it now that he was a catholic, not 
as he thought of it formerly when he was a Manichean. His third 
reason is, because infidels do not now believe the preaching minis- 


ters, as Augustine in that same chapter affirms that he did. I 
answer : infidels do not, indeed, while they continue infidels, obey 
the preaching of the ministers of the church ; but they may be 
brought to faith by the preaching of the word, and then they will 
obey. And it, was in this very way that Augustine was made a 
catholic from a Manichean. His fourth reason is, because Augus 
tine in this chapter says of the Acts of the Apostles, " I must 
needs believe this book." Therefore (says Stapleton) he speaks of 
himself as he then was, namely, as a catholic. I answer, that this 
is no reason. For whether he speak of himself as a catholic or as 
a Manichean, it was needful by all means that he should believe 
this book, inasmuch as it is the word of God : for all alike must 
needs either receive or reject the Gospels and the Acts together. 
His fifth reason is, because Augustine writes in the fourth chapter 
of this book, that even when he was a bishop, he was kept in the 
church, on account of the name of the church and the consent of 
people and nations. I answer, that Augustine does indeed confess 
this : yet nevertheless, besides these two, he alleges another stronger 
argument in that same chapter, namely the absolutely constant 
truth of doctrine ; which if the Manicheans could allege in their 
behalf, he promises that he would be willing to desert the name of 
the church and the consent of people and nations, and return to 
them. Therefore he ascribed more to the truth of doctrine than 
to the judgment and authority of the church. 

Finally, says Stapleton, Augustine everywhere in all the places 
before alleged attributes to the church the privilege of consigning the 
canon of scripture -to the faithful. I answer, in the first place, it would 
be repugnant to Augustine himself to make him say that, now that 
he was a believer and a catholic, he would not believe the gospel, 
save only upon the authority of the church ; since he himself in the 
fourteenth chapter of this book says that we, when we believe and 
are become strong in faith, understand what we believe not now by 
the help of men, but by God himself internally confirming and 
illuminating our minds. The faithful, therefore, do not believe 
merely on account of the church s authority. Secondly, I say that 
this is also repugnant to reason itself. For all the faithful are 
endowed with the Holy Spirit. Now his authority is greater than 
that of the church. Therefore it is not to be doubted that they 
are kept in the true faith by his rather than by the church s 
authority. Thirdly, what if we were to acknowledge that the 




faithful themselves are moved by the authority of the church to 
receive the scriptures ? It does not follow thence, that their inti 
mate inward persuasion is produced by the same way, or that they 
are induced by no other and stronger reason. What Christian is 
there whom the church of Christ, commending the scriptures to 
him, does not move? But to be moved is one thing, and to be 
persuaded is another. The Samaritan woman who is mentioned in 
John iv. moved many of her countrymen by her testimony to 
Christ, and excited them to flock to Christ and lend his instructions 
a favourable and willing attention. But the same persons afterwards, 
when they had heard Christ, said to the woman, " JSTow we believe 
not on account of thy speech (Sia rrjv <JY\V XaAtai/), but because we 
have heard him ourselves, and know that this is the Christ, the 
Saviour of the world." So the authority of the church may at first 
move us to acknowledge the scriptures : but afterwards, when we 
have ourselves read the scriptures, and understand them, then we 
conceive a true faith, and believe, not because the church judges 
that we should believe, but, as for many other more certain argu 
ments, so for this specially, because the Holy Spirit persuades us 
internally that these are the words of God. 

But since this testimony of Augustine is urged so vehe 
mently by Stapleton, other papists shall easily either teach or 
remind him, how little force it hath to establish the perpetual 
authority of the church. Driedo, Lib. iv. c. 4, determines that 
Augustine speaks in these words of the primitive church of the 
apostles : for if Augustine were now alive, and meant to speak of 
the church such as it now is, he would rather say, " I would not 
acknowledge such men to be the church of Christ, unless the autho 
rity of the four Gospels taught me so." Wherefore we do not 
now believe the gospel on account of the church, but, on the con 
trary, the church on account of the gospel. Whence also it fol 
lows that the gospel is the truest mark of the church. Bellarmine 
himself, in his MSS. Lectures upon the Secunda Secundce of Aquinas, 
QuEest. i. art. i. Dub. 1, tells us, that Augustine " speaks of the 
church as the propounding cause, not as the prime foundation of 
faith." For we should not believe the gospel unless the catholic 
church propounded ifc : which, no doubt, is true. For, unless the 
church commended the sacred books to us, and led us, as it were, 
by the hand, to the very fountains of divine truth, we should never 
emerge out of the darkest shades of error. But does it therefore 


follow that the apocryphal books cannot be distinguished from the 
canonical otherwise than by the mere authority of the church? 
By no means. And there is no need that we should say more of 
this sixth argument. 



THE seventh argument is contained in Book ix. chap. 10, 
where he joins other fathers to Augustine, for the purpose of 
proving, that the canon of scripture must be consigned by the 
authority of the church. But what else do all those fathers prove 
but this, that the scripture should be received because it hath ever 
been received by the church, and that certain books should be 
rejected because they have ever been rejected by the church ? 
Now this we most willingly confess. For we concede that the 
authority of the church is one argument, and a good one too : but 
it does not immediately follow either that it is the only argument, 
or that this whole matter depends upon the authority of the church. 
I might, therefore, disregard all those testimonies, and pass them 
over as irrelevant ; but I prefer to touch upon them briefly, lest I 
should seem to have omitted anything. Now the testimonies, which 
Stapleton alleges in this chapter, are five in number : namely, from 
Theodoret, Tertullian, Irenasus, the first council of Toledo, and 
Serapion the bishop of Antioch ; to each of which severally we shall 
give a brief reply. 

Theodoret, in his argument to the Epistle to the Hebrews, 
writes thus against the Arians, who denied the authority of that 
epistle : "If nothing else, they should at least have respected 
the length of time during which the disciples of the truth have 
been wont to read this epistle continually in the churches 1 ." I 
answer : What is all this to us ? Nothing whatever. We grant 
that this epistle is to be embraced with all reverence, and that its 
opponents may be pressed and coerced by the argument drawn 

[1 eSei de avrovs, ei Kai prj^ev erepov, rov \povov yovv aldO"6fjvai TO HTJKOS, ev 
o> rrjvde TTJV emo-ToXrjv ev rals fK<\r)( dvayivao-Kovres diTf\(rav rfjs 
a-ias of Tpofapoi. Theod. Argum. in Heb.] 



from antiquity. But, I beseech you, hath Theodoret written that 
nothing else gains authority for this epistle, save this very antiquity 
of time? By no means, but rather quite the opposite, as is manifest 
from his words : for he says, " if there were nothing else," they 
should be moved by the very length of time. Therefore, he in 
timates that there were other arguments, besides antiquity of time, 
whereby the authority of this epistle might be confirmed. And 
amongst these other arguments the principal, no doubt, was the 
very doctrine itself of the epistle, which the church acknowledges by 
the assistance of the Holy Spirit. For what else can be adduced ? 
Thus, therefore, this first testimony alleged by Stapleton is an 
swered easily, and almost without any effort. 

But perad venture the second is clearer, which we have now, 
in the next place, to discuss. It is that of Tertullian in his book of 
Prescriptions against the heretics, where these words are to be 
found : "I will allege as a prescription, that what the apostles 
preached should not otherwise be proved, but through those same 
churches which the apostles themselves founded 1 ." What (says 
Stapleton) could possibly be more plainly said ? I answer : I con 
fess indeed that the words are plain, but I affirm that Tertullian 
speaks not of the apostolic epistles, but of the apostolic doctrine ; 
which is sufficiently manifest from the words immediately preceding. 
For thus he writes : " We draw up therefore this prescriptive plea: 
if the Lord Jesus Christ sent apostles to preach, then no other 
preachers are to be received than those whom Christ instructed ; 
because no man knoweth the Father but the Son, and he to whom 
the Son hath revealed him, and the Son seems to have revealed 
him to no others than the apostles, whom he sent to preach, no 
doubt, that which he had revealed to them 2 ." Then he applies 
this prescription, namely, that the doctrine which the apostles 
preached should not be proved in any other way but through 
those churches which they founded. In which words Tertullian 
does not reject, however, all other testimonies. For if this had 

[ J Quid autem prsedicaverint, id est, quid illis Christus revelaverit, et hie 
prsescribam non aliter probari debere, nisi per easdem ecclesias quas ipsi 
Apostoli condiderunt. c. 21. p. 14.] 

[ 2 Hinc igitur dirigimus prsescriptionem, si Dominus Jesus Christus apos- 
tolos misit ad prsedicandum, alios non esse recipiendos prsedicatores quam 
quos Christus instituit, quia nee alius Patrem novit nisi Filius et cui Filius 
revelavit; nee aliis videtur revelasse Filius quam apostolis, quos misit ad 
prsedicandum utique quod illis revelavit. Ibid. Whitaker reads hanc for 
hinc. I know not on what authority.] 


been his meaning, that the evidence of the apostolical epistles to 
us depended entirely upon the approbation of the apostolical 
churches, then he would have rejected the testimony of the Holy 
Spirit ; which he certainly never meant to do. Nay, this would 
not be consistent even with our adversary s own defence. For he, 
in the last chapter of this his ninth book, will have the canon of 
scripture to be consigned by the rule of faith. Therefore, besides 
the approbation of the church, he would have the rule of faith 
also to be necessary ; for the rule of faith is a different thing from 
the external judgment of the church. But Tertullian s meaning, 
as appears from the words following, is, that every doctrine is true 
which agrees and harmonises with that doctrine of the churches, 
which they received from the apostles, and the apostles from 
Christ ; and that whatever does not so agree is adulterate and false. 
For thus he subjoins : " If these things be so, it follows thence, 
that every doctrine which agrees with those apostolical churches, 
from whose wombs the faith derived its origin, is to be accounted 
true ; and that that is undoubtedly to be held, which the churches 
received from the apostles, the apostles from Christ, and Christ from 
God ; but all other doctrine is to be judged beforehand to be false 3 ." 
This is so far from taking away the testimony of the Holy Spirit, 
that it rather establishes it ; for the Holy Spirit is the judge of 
apostolical doctrine. Therefore he attributes nothing to the church, 
unless it hold this doctrine. Besides, to say, as Tertullian says, 
that " doctrine should be proved by the church," is a different 
thing from saying that it should be received only on the authority 
of the church, which Stapleton means. We concede the former, 
especially as far as the apostolical churches are concerned, but the 
latter by no means. For although it be through the church that 
we know doctrine, yet that it is now upon the authority of the 
Holy Spirit that we believe, even our adversaries themselves allow, 
as ye shall hear hereafter. Therefore, when Tertullian speaks of 
sound and apostolical doctrine, although he says that it should 
agree with the faith of the apostolic churches, he nevertheless does 
not, on that account, set aside the testimony of the Holy Spirit. 
So much upon the testimony of Tertullian. 1 come now to 

[ 3 Si hsec ita sunt, constat proinde omnem doctrinam, quoe cum illis 
ecclesiis apostolicis, matricibus et originalibus fidei, conspiret, veritati depu- 
tandam, id sine dubio tenentem quod ecclesise ab apostolis, apostoli a Christo, 
Christus a Deo accepit ; reliquam vero omnem doctrinam de mendacio prse- 
judicandam. Ibid. ] 


Irenseus, from whom Stapleton quotes some words, which, it must 
be allowed, have very little force in them. For we confess with 
Irenseus, that the authority of the church is a firm and compendious 
demonstration of the canonical doctrine a posteriori, but not a 
priori: but we deny that this is the sole, or the greatest, or the 
strongest argument. This Stapleton could not prove from Irenaeus. 
Besides, when Stapleton concedes out of Irenseus, that heretics who 
denied some scriptures were refuted by the scriptures which they 
received, does he not affirm, exactly as we would have it, that scrip 
ture may be proved by scripture, and that scripture may be other 
wise recognised and proved than by the testimony of the church ? 

His fourth testimony is taken from the first council of Toledo, 
the twenty-first canon of which is to this effect : "If any shall say 
or believe that any other scriptures are to be received, save those 
which the church hath received, let him be anathema 1 ." I answer : 
I do not see why I and all good Christians may not be permitted 
to say Amen to these words. For we think no otherwise than we 
are directed in this canon, and receive or reject no book without 
the testimony and example of the catholic church. Wherefore this 
denunciation of an anathema touches us in no way. But I wonder 
that Stapleton should be so stupid as not to understand or remark 
how weak is this argument of his : No scriptures should be re 
ceived, which have not been received and approved by the church : 
therefore, scriptures are only to be received on account of the 
church s testimony. No scriptures should be rejected, but those 
which the church hath rejected : therefore the apocryphal writings 
are to be rejected solely on that account, because the church hath 
rejected them. 

And of this testimony enough hath been said. Now follows 
the fifth and last, which is that of a certain Serapion, bishop of 
Antioch, of whom Eusebius speaks H. E. Lib. vi. c. 11, taken from 
an epistle of his : " We," says Serapion, " refuse certain books 
falsely inscribed with the names of the apostles, knowing that we 
have never received such 2 ." Now he speaks of the gospel of 

[ l Si quis dixerit aut crediderit alias scripturas recipiendas esse prscter 
illas quas ecclesia recepit, anathema sit. Anathem. xn. col. 328. Collect. 
Cann. Eccles. Hispan. Matriti. 1808.] 

[ 2 H/mj yap, ddf\<poi, KOL Hfrpov KOI rovs a\\ovs aTrooToAov? a7ro8e^o/Lie^a 
<as XpioTov TO. 8e oj/o/zari avr&v ^cvdeTnypcK^a as e/ATrei/Jot irapa.iTovp.f0a, 

yivaxTKovTcs OTI TO. ToiavTa ov 7rapf\dfiofj.ev. H. E. Lib. VI. C. 12. pp. 177 8. 

T. ii. ed. Heinich.] 


Peter, which used to be read in some churches. I answer : That 
book was rejected by Serapion on account of the many falsehoods 
which were found in it, as is plain from the words which follow : 
therefore it was not rejected merely on account of the authority 
of the church. In this place Stapleton hath, as he often does, 
made use of a notable artifice. We, says Serapion, have not re 
ceived the book, we t/txTret/oot, as being skilful and expert ; ywto- 
ovcoi/Tes OTI TO. Toiavra ov 7rape\aftofj.ev. And Eusebius says 
that he refuted TO. -v|/ef$aJ9 ev avrw eiprjimeva, " the falsehoods 
contained in it." The book, therefore, was interspersed with some 
falsehoods and impostures. Besides, Stapleton omits some words 
which have great force in them, as will manifestly appear to any 
one who will look at the passage. For Serapion says 3 , at the end 
of that chapter, that he had found very many things opOou \oyov, 
sound, in that book, but some also TTpocr^iearaX^eva, foreign from 
and at variance with the orthodox faith, and therefore had re 
jected it. He therefore did not reject it merely on account of 
the church s judgment, of which no mention is here made, but 
on account of the doctrine delivered in the book itself. This 
seventh argument, and the sixth also, which immediately preceded 
it, were merely human; and how weak such arguments are in 
causes of faith, every one must understand. 



I COME now to the eighth and last argument, which Stapleton 
considers the weightiest and most important of all. It is stated in 
the eleventh chapter of his ninth book, and is drawn from the rule 
of faith, thus : The rule of faith which is lodged with the church, 
and delivered by the church, is the means by which the masters 
and pastors of the churches distinguished true scriptures from false. 
Therefore the church only should determine of the canonical books 
of scripture. I answer : if by the rule of faith we understand the 
articles of faith, then this reason of our adversary is not sufficient 
for the confirmation of his cause, nor is there any consequence in 

[ 3 Kal evpflv TO. /j.ev TrXetom TOV 6p6ov \6yov rov Swr^pos, TWO, fie irpo- 
. Ibid. p. 179.] 


his argument. For this is no reason : Such a book teaches things 
in harmony with the articles of the faith ; therefore it is canonical. 
For many books expound that sound doctrine which is in perfect 
harmony with the articles of the faith, and nevertheless should not 
be received into the canon. The reason is indeed good negatively 
the other way : such a book delivers something repugnant to the 
articles of the faith; therefore it is not canonical. But affirmatively, 
it does not hold. But what is that rule of faith ? Undoubtedly 
the rule of faith is the scripture itself: if therefore, the canon of 
scripture be consigned by the rule of faith, then the scripture is 
confirmed by the scripture, which is the very thing we maintain. 
But he means far otherwise. The rule of faith, says he, is not 
the scripture, but a certain previous, presupposed, and pre-existing 
faith, which; being prior to the scripture, is neither included in, nor 
convertible with, the scripture. This is certainly an impious and 
blasphemous fiction of Stapleton s. For it is to be held undoubt- 
ingly, as we shall hereafter prove most largely, that the revealed 
and written word of God is the sole rule of faith, which is a thing 
prior to the faith of the church. For all " faith is by hearing, and 
hearing by the word of God," Rom. x. 17 : that is, our hearing 
hath regard to the word of God, as its object, and objects are 
prior to the senses perceiving them ; therefore the word is prior to 
faith. If he feign another rule of faith besides the written word of 
God, we reject, repudiate, and refuse to acknowledge any such, and 
reduce the whole rule of the catholic faith to the scripture alone. 

But I ask whether it is by this rule, or without this rule, that 
the church distinguishes true scriptures from false? Stapleton 
answers thus, at the close of the chapter: "The rule of faith/ says 
he, " delivered and accepted by the church, is the sole and most 
certain mean, whereby the pastors and governors of the church 
distinguish the true scriptures from the false: therefore, without 
this rule the genuine scriptures cannot be distinguished from the 
spurious." I derive then from this statement four observations. 

Firstly, if true scriptures are discerned from false by the rule 
of faith, then it no less appertains to the whole body of the church 
to consign the canon of scripture, than to the pastors and governors 
of the church themselves. For all the faithful have this rule, not 
alone the pastors, governors and prelates ; because the faith is 
common to both laymen and ministers. Now this makes against 
Stapleton, who does not attribute this power to the whole body of 
the church, but only to the prelates and pastors. 


Secondly, if it be not by its own authority, but by the rule 
of faith, that the church distinguishes the true scriptures from the 
false, then all Stapleton s former arguments, drawn from the au 
thority of the church, are of no avail ; because the church does not 
rest simply on its own authority, but on some certain rule of faith 
in adjudicating and discriminating scripture. Thus the previous 
arguments, which are founded on the bare authority of the church, 
are altogether avoided, and the whole judgment of the church is 
tied to the rule of faith. 

Thirdly, how can these things agree, or in any wise stand 
together ? He says that the pastors and masters of the church do, 
by means of the rule of faith delivered and received by the church, 
distinguish the true scriptures from the false ; and under this name 
of the church he understands the pastors only, and prelates, and 
masters (as he calls them) of the churches. Therefore, he says 
nothing else but this, that the pastors do, by means of the rule of 
faith delivered and received by the pastors, discriminate the scrip 
tures. But, in the first place, the pastors do not always think 
alike concerning the canonical scriptures, (if by the pastors ho 
understand the bishops and doctors.) as may be proved from anti 
quity. If therefore this rule be delivered by the pastors, it will 
be changeable and uncertain. Yea, even the pastors of the present 
day do not think alike of the canonical books. It is necessary, 
therefore, that at length they should betake themselves to the 
pope alone, as to (in their own phrase) the chief pastor, make him 
the church, and make all depend upon his caprice. Again, how 
absurd is it, that pastors should receive from pastors, that is, from 
themselves, the most certain mean of discerning the scriptures ! 
These things are of such a nature, that certainly they can in no 
way be reconciled. 

Fourthly, I ask what this rule is ? and where we may find it 
containing a certain and definite enumeration of books? is it 
written or unwritten ? If he say, written ; I demand where it is 
written. If it be not written, we may easily despise it, as a thing 
of no credit or importance: for we make no account of their 
pretended unwritten traditions. But he says that it is written 
in the hearts of the faithful, and to this purpose he adduces the 
testimonies of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and others, where the Lord says 
that he will write his laws in the hearts of the faithful. We 
for our parts approve all this. But, in the meanwhile, he does 
not perceive that he is overturning all that he had previously 


established. For he said above, that the testimony of the Holy 
Spirit is therefore to be rejected because not an external, but an 
internal, evidence. But if this rule of faith be written in the 
hearts of the faithful, how, I beseech you, will it be more certain 
than the testimony of the Spirit? And wherein does it differ 
from the testimony of the Spirit? since faith is the work and 
effect of the Holy Ghost in the hearts of the faithful, received from 
the word of God, whereby all saving truth is proved and confirmed 
to us. Therefore, Stapleton hath at length of his own accord 
passed over entirely to our opinion. 

Stapleton next handles two subjects at the end of this book. 
The first is, that not only the ancient apostolical church, but this 
present church also, may consign and constitute the canon of 
scripture. Wherein he hath for opponents Durandus and Driedo, 
two very learned papists, who contend that this power related 
only to the apostolical church ; and that the office of the present 
church was only to receive the canon consigned by that other more 
ancient church. With these he enters upon a very severe en 
counter and contention, of which I shall not be a sharer, but a 
spectator only. 

The second is, that this present church also might even now add 
other books to the canon, as the book of the Shepherd, and the 
Apostolical Constitutions written by Clement, and other books also, 
which were formerly doubtful, but never condemned : which indeed, 
it is manifest, is said and maintained absurdly. But, it seems, they 
have gone to such a length of impudence, that nothing is so revolt 
ing to be said, as to make them ashamed of affirming it. Certainly 
the book of the Shepherd is altogether unworthy of such great 
authority ; and the Apostolical Constitutions of Clement have not 
even a grain of the apostolic spirit. The church, therefore, 
neither can, nor should, receive these books into the canon. Sta 
pleton, while he asserts the competency of the church to do this, 
is at variance both with very many papists (Thomas a Walden 1 , 
for example, and others), and even with himself; since he had 
already alleged a testimony from Augustine, whence it appeared 
that the canon of scripture was consigned by the apostles, who 
excluded this book from the canon. But I would fain have him 
answer, whether the canon of scripture was settled heretofore, or 
not ? He cannot deny that it was : for he has already confessed 
it out of Augustine ; and there are some councils too, which the 
[ l Doctrin. Fidei, T. I. L. 2. Art. 2. c. 23. N. 9.] 


papists object to us, in which they say that the canon of scripture 
was consigned. If, therefore, the canon of scripture was consigned 
formerly, certainly a canon settled by so great authority cannot 
be changed, or this or that book introduced into it. For how 
grossly absurd would it be, either that a book intrinsically canon 
ical should be for so many ages not received into the canon ; or 
that it should now, so late, in the very last age of the world, be so 
received ! As to the Constitutions of Clement, they were even con 
demned by the judgment of some councils, as is shewn above. 
They were deemed, therefore, wholly unworthy of having rank or 
place in the canonical scriptures : yea, they certainly can never be 
received into the canon by the church. For the church cannot 
make non-canonical books canonical, but only cause those books to 
be received as canonical, which are really such in themselves. 
Augustine, at least, was so far from thinking that this most vene 
rable canon could be changed, or increased by any new accession 
of books, that in his 129th sermon upon the Times 2 he does not 
hesitate to denounce an anathema upon all who believe that any 
scriptures should be held in authority, or reverence any but those 
which the church had received. Therefore, if the church were to 
receive any new books into the canon, it would act against the 
faith itself, and deserve the severest censure, nay, execration. 
Now that it hath this power is boldly maintained by Stapleton : 
whence it is plain enough how great an injustice he does the 
church. But we have answered Stapleton s arguments already at 
sufficient length. 

There remains now one other argument, which Stapleton in 
deed hath not made use of: but I perceive that some other papists 
are exceedingly delighted with it. It is to this effect : The church 
is more ancient than the scripture ; therefore it ought to have more 
authority in respect of us than the scripture. So Eckius, in his En 
chiridion : so Hosius, Lib. iii. de Auctoritate Scripturce : so Linda- 
nus, in his Panoply, in many places : so Andradius in the third 
book of his Defence of the Council of Trent : so Schrock the Jesuit, 
in his 13th Thesis ; and some others beside. I answer : In the first 
place, I confess that there was a time when the word of God was not 
written, and that the church existed then : but it does not, there 
fore, follow that the church was more ancient than the word. For 
the doctrine was the same when not written, as it is now when it 
is written ; and that was more ancient than all churches. For the 
[ 2 Col. 876. Opp. T. x. Basil. 1569.] 


word of God is the seed of the church. Now the seed is always 
more ancient than that progeny of which it is the seed. When I 
speak of the word of God, I mean no other than that which is now 
written : for the unwritten word was the same with that which is 
now written. Secondly, Neither is that assertion true, that all 
things that are junior are of less authority. For Christ was later 
in time than John. Shall then the authority of John be greater 
in respect of us than that of Christ ? No one in his senses will 
affirm that. This argument therefore is but slight, and of no im 
portance whatsoever, although it be handled very shewily by some 
authors. Some of the papists have laboured, as if they were on a 
question of chronology, to shew that the word was unwritten for 
more than two thousand years, and that the gospel was preached 
about thirty years before it was written. But there is no reason 
why we should give this argument a larger answer in this place. 



HITHERTO we have spoken of the arguments of the papists, 
and have given such answers as are sufficient to satisfy all im 
partial persons. Now follow the arguments of our defence. 

Our first argument is to this effect : If the scripture had divine 
authority before any public judgment of the church, then it hath 
of itself in respect of us canonical authority, and its authority 
does not depend upon the church. But the former is true ; there 
fore also the second. The major proposition is manifest. The 
minor is confirmed by four reasons. The first : The papists them 
selves confess that the church does not make the scripture au 
thentic, but only declares it. But if the scripture be first authentic 
of itself, then certainly it necessarily follows that it must be au 
thentic also to us ; for nothing can be called authentic, which 
seems authentic to no one. That is called authentic, which is 
sufficient to itself, which commends, sustains, proves itself, and hath 
credit and authority from itself; the contrary of which is de<r- 


TTOTOV and axvpov, that, namely, which is uncertain and hath no 
authority of itself. Therefore, if the scriptures were authentic 
before the church declared them to be authentic, they were au 
thentic also to us ; otherwise they were absolutely incapable of 
being declared Authentic. 

The second. The judgment of fathers, councils, and the church, 
is but recent, if we respect the antiquity of scripture. If therefore 
the authority of scripture depend upon the public judgment of the 
church, then doubtless for many centuries there was no certain 
canon of scripture. Fathers, indeed, and councils enunciate the 
canonical books ; but those books both were, and were esteemed, 
previously authentic, and canonical, and sacred, as is plain from 
those fathers and councils themselves. Let them produce any 
public judgment of the church, and it will readily appear that the 
scriptures were deemed canonical before that judgment. 

The third. I demand what this judgment of the church was, 
or where it can be found ? If they answer, In the books of the 
fathers, and the decrees of the councils : I desire to know, how we 
are more sure of the authority of the fathers and councils than of 
that of scripture? For example, whence are we more certainly 
assured that these are the books of Augustine, those of Jerome, 
than we are that this is the Gospel of Matthew, and that of Mark ? 
If they urge, that the living voice of the church is necessary, then 
they must needs abandon the support which they are wont to build 
upon in the authority of the ancient church. If they say, that this 
is certain from the voice of the present church ; I ask again, whence 
it appears that this is the voice of the true church? They 
must prove this from the scriptures; for the true church can no 
otherwise be proved but from the authority of scripture. Now 
from thence it will follow that the authority of scripture is more 
certain than that of the church. 

The fourth. If the church be gathered together to consign the 
canon of scripture, it must needs be so by some authority. I 
demand, therefore, by what authority it is so collected ? If they 
answer, by some internal impulse or revelation of the Spirit, we 
entirely reject such revelations which are besides the word, as 
fanatical and anabaptistical and utterly heretical. If they say that 
it is collected by the authority of scripture, then they concede that 
which we demand : for it will thence follow, that the scripture 
had a canonical authority before it was confirmed by the judgment 
of the church. If they allow only this part of scripture which 


gives such an authority to the church to have been previously 
canonical, but deny the rest to have been so, they do this without 
any certain reason. Suffice it to say so much of our first argument. 

Our second argument is to this purpose. That is the true 
and proper cause of that authentic authority which the scripture 
holds with us, which produces this effect perpetually and neces 
sarily ; that is, which always causes the scripture to have an 
authentic authority with us. But the necessary and perpetual 
cause of this is only the testimony of the Holy Spirit, not the 
public judgment of the church. Therefore, the testimony of the 
Holy Spirit, and not the public judgment of the church, is the true 
and proper cause of that authentic authority which the scripture 
hath with us. Concerning the major there can be no doubt ; and 
the minor is easily established. For if the judgment of the church 
always rendered the authority of scripture canonical in respect of 
us ; then all who heard this from the church would presently believe 
it, and immediately all, to whom this judgment of the church came, 
would receive that canon which the church had established. But 
the church hath long since consigned the canon of scripture, and 
nevertheless the Jews, Turks, Saracens, and even many Christians 
do not heartily assent to it: it is, therefore, evident that the 
judgment of the church is not the certain, necessary, solid and 
perpetual argument of that authority which the scripture obtains. 
But the Holy Spirit always produces this effect : his testimony, 
therefore, is the true and proper cause of the authority of scripture 
in respect of us. 

Our third argument stands thus : If the authority of the church 
in respect of us depend upon the authority of scripture, then the 
authority of scripture in respect of us does not, on the contrary, 
depend upon the authority of the church. But the first is true, 
and therefore also the second. The consequence of the major is 
sufficiently strong of itself; and the assumption may be easily 
established. For I demand, whence it is that we learn that the 
church cannot err in consigning the canon of scripture? They 
answer, that it is governed by the Holy Spirit (for so the council 
of Trent assumes of itself), and therefore cannot err in its judgments 
and decrees. I confess indeed that, if it be always governed by 
the Holy Spirit so as that, in every question, the Spirit affords it 
the light of truth, it cannot err. But whence do we know that it 
is always so governed ? They answer that Christ hath promised 
this. Be it so. But where, I pray, hath he promised it ? Readily, 


and without delay, they produce many sentences of scripture which 
they are always wont to have in their mouths, such as these : " I 
will be with you always, even to the end of the world." Matth. 
xxviii. 20. " Where two or three are gathered together in my 
name, there I will be in the midst of you." Matth. xviii. 20. " I 
will send to you the Comforter from the Father." John xv. 26. 
"Who, when he is come, will lead you into all truth." Johnxvi. 13. 
I recognise here the most lucid and certain testimonies of scripture. 
But now from hence it follows not that the authority of scripture 
depends upon the church ; but, contrariwise, that the authority of 
the church depends on scripture. Surely it is a notable circle in 
which this argument revolves ! They say that they give authority 
to the scripture and canonical books in respect of us ; and yet they 
confess that all their authority is derived from scripture. For if 
they rely upon the testimonies and sentences of these books, when 
they require us to believe in them ; then it is plain that these books, 
which lend them credit, had greater authority in themselves, and 
were of themselves authentic. 

Our fourth argument stands thus : If the scripture have so 
great force and virtue in itself, as to draw up our souls to itself, 
to infuse into us an intimate persuasion of its truth, and of itself to 
commend itself to our belief; then it is certain that it is to us of 
itself avroTTio-rov, canonical and authentic. Now the first is true ; 
therefore also the second. There is no controversy about the major. 
The minor may be confirmed by testimonies of scripture. In Luke 
viii. 11 the word of God is compared to seed, and 1 Pet. i. 13 is 
called " immortal seed." Now then as seed displays itself, and 
issues forth, and bears fruit in its season, so the word of God re 
sembles the nature of seed ; it springs up, and breaks forth, and 
manifests its energy. Besides, 1 Cor. ii. 4, Paul says : " My 
speech and my preaching was not in persuasive words of man s 
wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and in power," a\\ ev 
ctTrocWfet niWyuaros xal Suva/mews. In Luke xxiv. 32, those two 
disciples, to whom Christ appeared on their way to Emmaus, con 
versed thus with one another, after Christ had vanished from their 
sight : " Did not our heart burn within us, Kaionevrj ?jv ev ?JjuuV, 
whilst he spake unto us by the way, and whilst he opened unto us 
the scriptures ?" Heb. iv. 12, " The word of God," says the 
apostle, " is quick and powerful, ^wv KCU evepyrjs, and quicker than 
any two-edged sword, and pierceth even to the dividing asunder 
of the soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a 


discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." 1 Cor. xiv. 
24, 25, " If all prophesy," says Paul, " and there come in one that 
belie veth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged 
of all ; and so are the secrets of his heart made manifest, and so, 
falling down on his face, he will worship God, and report that God 
is in you of a truth." From all these places we understand, that 
there is a certain divine force, virtue, and efficacy in scripture, which 
reaches not the ears only, but even the soul itself, and penetrates 
to the inmost recesses of the heart, and proves the most certain 
divinity of scripture. The scripture, therefore, which hath such 
a force in itself, and which so openly shews, proves, establishes 
itself, and persuades us of its own truth, is by all means of itself 
canonical and authentic. 

Our fifth argument is taken from the words of Christ, John v. 
34, where Christ says : " I receive not witness of men," eyco ov 
Trapd avOpwTTov imapTvpiav Xa/mfiavw. Hence we draw an argument 
to this effect : Christ is known of himself; he depends not on the 
testimony or authority of any man. Therefore, neither does the 
scripture. For the authority of scripture is not less than that of 
Christ, whose word it is. But here they will object thus : Did not 
Christ use the honourable testimony of John ? Why then may not 
also the scripture be commended by the testimony of the church ? 
I answer, that John did indeed give testimony to Christ, but not 
any authority, not even in respect of us. The same may be said 
of the church ; that is, that it gives testimony to the scriptures ; 
that it commends and declares them authentic, and yet imparts to 
them no authority, not even in respect of us. Christ s saying, " I 
receive not witness of man," is the same thing as if he had said : I 
need not that any should give me authority by his testimony ; I 
am sufficiently fortified on all sides by mine own authority ; I will 
abundantly gain authority for myself by mine own testimony. As, 
therefore, Christ could of himself demonstrate that he was the 
Messiah, so the word of Christ can of itself produce the belief that 
it is the word of God. Its being commended by the church is not 
for the purpose of receiving greater authority, but in order that its 
authority may be the more recognised by men. Canus, Lib. n. 
cap. 8, seeks to break the force of this testimony, thus : The sense 
is, says he, I do not receive witness of man ; that is, I do not need 
the witness of any man, but I allege the witness of John for your 
sakes. Be it so. Then also it will follow, that neither does 
scripture need the witness of the church. 


Our sixth argument is taken from the same chapter, verse 38, 
where Christ says : " I have greater testimony than that of John ;" 
e^a) imaprvpiav jmei^co Iwdvvou : and then he recites three such 
testimonies, namely, his works, the testimony of his Father, and the 
scriptures. Hence I conclude thus : If the testimony of scripture 
concerning Christ be more certain than the judgment and witness 
of John, then is it also much more certain and valid than the 
judgment and witness of the church. For the papists dare not say, 
that the judgment of the church concerning scripture is more 
certain than was that testimony of John concerning Christ. But 
the former is true, and therefore also the latter. Nay, the written 
word of God is even more certain and firm than a divine revela 
tion and a celestial voice : for so we read, 2 Pet. i. 19. Does the 
church dare to attribute more to her judgment than to a divine 
voice and heavenly revelation ? Peter was with Christ upon the 
mount, and there heard the voice of God the Father ; and yet he 
says, " We have a more sure word of prophecy," Pefiaiorepov TOV 
7Tpo<pr]TtKov \oyov. If then the scripture be more certain than 
divine revelations from heaven, much more must it needs be more 
certain than the judgment and testimony of the church. Whence 
it is plain that no authority can be conceived greater or more 
certain than that of scripture. Beza indeed hath translated /3e- 
flaiorepov most firm ; but it comes to the same thing : for if 
the word of prophecy be most firm, then certainly it is more firm 
than any revelation, and contains the highest degree of strength 
in itself. 

Our seventh argument is taken from 1 Thess. ii. 13, where 
Paul addresses the Thessalonians thus : " We give thanks to God 
always, because that, when ye received the word of God which ye 
heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but (as it is in 
truth), the word of God, e^e^acrOe ov \oyov dvOpcoTrwv, d\\d 
\oyov Geoy, which also worketh effectually in you that believe." 
From this place I argue thus : If the Thessalonians, when they 
only heard Paul, received the doctrine of scripture as divine, and 
so embraced it, then, without the judgment of the church, the 
scripture ought to have a divine authority with us. But the 
former is true ; for the Thessalonians had then heard of no pro 
phecy or testimony of any church, but had only received the 
word from the lips of Paul : therefore also the latter. Ambrose 
writes thus upon that place : " They received the word with such 
devotion as to prove that they understood it to be the word of 

r -i 22 



God 1 ." But whence could they understand it to be such ? Certainly 
from the doctrine itself, and the testimony of the Holy Spirit ; not 
from the authority of any church, or of the apostle himself. For 
what church could persuade the Thessalonians by the weight of 
its testimony to receive Paul, or assent to his discourses as divine ? 
The apostle himself was unknown to them, and had nowhere any 
authority but on account of that doctrine, the minister and herald of 
which he was. Therefore, the doctrine itself gained for him all his 
authority and credit. We read in like manner, Gal. iv. 14, " Ye 
received me," says Paul, "as an angel of God, yea, as Christ 
Jesus." Whose commendation was it, I beseech you, which pro 
cured for Paul this authority and dignity with the Galatians ? No 
man s. Therefore that doctrine which the apostle brought with 
him excited in the strongest manner the minds of the Galatians to 
welcome and respect Paul, and sufficiently of itself commended itself 
and its minister. So Acts xvii. 11, the Beroeans, when they heard 
Paul, examined his teaching not by the judgment of any church, but 
by the standard of the scripture itself. It appears, therefore, that 
scripture of itself, without the testimony and authority of the 
church, hath a divine, canonical and authentic authority even in 
respect of us. 

Our eighth argument stands thus : The authority of the un 
written word did not depend upon the authority of the church. 
Therefore neither does the authority of the written word now 
depend upon the church. The argument is conclusive, because 
the reason is the same in both cases. The major is proved be 
cause, when as yet the word was not published in the scriptures 
or written documents, God used to speak immediately to the pa 
triarchs, and this word was not commended or received by any 
authority of the church, but by that of God alone : therefore also 
the written word of God should be received in like manner : un 
less it be said that it is of less authority since it hath been con 
signed to books than it was before ; which is the height of absurdity. 
Paul, Rom. ii. 15, affirms of the law, that it is written in our 
hearts. I believe the law, therefore, not on account of the testi 
mony or judgment of the church, but because we retain the light 
of the law impressed and inscribed upon our hearts. Now then, 
if the law, which is one portion of the word of God, be acknow 
ledged of itself and by its own light, which is impressed upon our 

[ x Tanta devotione receperunt verbum, ut probarent se intellexisse esse 
Dei verbum. Opp. T. n. App. p. 279. Paris. 1670.] 


souls, and easily proves itself to all, and shews that this is the will 
of God ; much more is the gospel sealed in our hearts by the Holy 
Spirit, and received on account of the Holy Spirit s authority. 
For, if we understand that the law is the will of God, not per 
suaded by the - authority of the church, but by the internal light 
of the law ; how much more need is there that we be illuminated 
by the light of the Holy Spirit, before we believe the gospel ; 
since the law is natural, but the gospel transcends all nature, and 
therefore needs some greater kind of confirmation ! 

Our ninth argument is taken from 1 John v. 6, where these 
words are found : TO irvev/nd GCTTL TO juaprvpovv, on 7rvevfj.a 
ecjTtv rj aXrjOeia. "It is the Spirit that beareth witness that 
the Spirit is truth ;" that is, by a metonymy, that the doctrine 
delivered by the Spirit is true. The old translator somewhat 
otherwise : Spiritus est qui testatur, quoniam Christus est veritas. 
But it comes to precisely the same thing. For the sense is plain, 
that it is the Spirit which testifies of the Spirit, that is, of the hea 
venly doctrine whereof he is the master, and of Christ : where the 
testimony of the Spirit in confirming doctrine is established. 

Our tenth argument is taken from the same chapter, verse 9, 
where these words are contained : "If we receive the witness of 
men, the witness of God is greater ;" r\ /aaprvpia TOV Qeov juei^wv: 
whence we understand that no testimony can be either greater 
or more certain than the divine. But the testimony of the church 
is human : for if they would have the testimony of the church to 
be divine, they must mean thereby the testimony of the Spirit, and 
so they will assert the same thing as we. Thomas Aquinas by " the 
testimony of men " in this place understands the testimony of the 
prophets ; but the testimony of the church cannot be more certain 
than the testimony of the prophets. If, therefore, there be, as Thomas 
implies, something greater than the testimony of the prophets, then 
it will follow that the testimony of the church is not the greatest 
whereby we are convinced of the truth of faith and doctrine. 

Our eleventh argument is taken from the last words of the 
fifth chapter of the gospel according to St John, which are these : 
" If ye believe not Moses writings, how shall ye believe my 
et TOIS CKGLVOV y pa/jL^acn /JLTJ TrtcrTefere, TTOOS TO:S e/uots 
Trtcrreucrere ; They are Christ s words to the Jews : whence 
I conclude thus : They who do not believe the scriptures them 
selves, will not even believe the testimony of Christ ; much less 
will be capable of being induced to repose faith in the voice and 



words of the church. Jansenius, himself a papist, observes that 
it is an argument a fortiori, because " as that is firmer which 
is consigned to writing, so it is more censurable and a greater 
fault, not to believe writings than not to believe words 1 ." And 
Theophylact interprets this place in the following manner : " If 
ye believe not words written, how shall ye believe my words that 
are not written ?" Qu TTicrreJere roTs ypa/jLiuLaui., /ecu TTW? TTL- 
GTGUGere roTs ejuo?? cfypatyois pmuLacriv ; It is evident, therefore, 
that those who are not moved by the authority of the scriptures 
themselves, to embrace them with a pure faith, can be moved 
or induced by no other argument or authority to believe. 

Stapleton does not touch upon the foregoing arguments, where 
by it is plain that our cause is abundantly demonstrated : but now 
follow some which he endeavours to obviate. For, Lib. ix. c. 2, 
he proposes six arguments of the Protestants, as he calls them, 
which he answers severally, c. 3. The first four arguments are 
taken from Calvin, Instit. Lib. i. c. 7, 2 the remaining two from 
others, which we shall join to the foregoing along with the de 
fence of them. 

Calvin s first argument, therefore, shall be our twelfth, which 
is this : If the canon of scripture depend upon the determination 
of the church, then the authority, verity, and credibility of all 
the promises of salvation and eternal life contained in scripture 
depend upon a human judgment ; because we believe those pro 
mises on account of the canonical authority of the scriptures in 
which they are contained. But it is absurd, that the promises 
of God should depend upon men, that the eternal truth of God 
should rest upon the will of man, because then our consciences 
can have no confidence, no security. Therefore the canon of scrip 
ture does not depend upon the determination of the church. 

Stapleton answers, that the judgment of the church in this matter 
is not merely human, but divine and infallible, so as that the faithful 
soul may most safely acquiesce in it, and therefore that Calvin s 
argument is inconsequential. But what is the meaning of this as 
sertion, that the church s judgment is not merely human ? Be it 
so. But is it merely divine ? For surely it is requisite that the 
truth of the promises of eternal life should be propped and sup 
ported by a testimony purely divine. This Stapleton does not 
openly affirm, but afterwards seems to wish it to be understood, 

[ l Comment, in Concord. Evang. p. 241. Lugd. 1606.] 
[ 2 Tom. i. pp. 57 62. ed. Tholuck. Berol. 1834.] 


when he says that it is divine and infallible, and that faithful souls 
may safely acquiesce in it. But here he does not answer candidly ; 
for the question is, whether those things which are promised in the 
ecriptures are believed by us to be true solely on account of the 
church s authority, or on account of some more certain judgment ? 
Stapleton says that the judgment of the church is divine, because 
God speaks through the church, and that so we may acquiesce in 
the voice and sentence of the church. Be it so ; let the judgment 
of the church be divine. Well, is not the judgment of scripture 
divine also in Stapleton s opinion? Why then may we not ac 
quiesce in the judgment of scripture as well as in that of the 
church ? But indeed, when he answers thus, he accomplishes no 
thing. For the question is not, whether the judgment of the 
church be divine in itself, but whence it is that we are assured 
of its being so ; unless perhaps he has forgotten his own Thesis. 
This latter question he gives us no information upon. He says 
only, that God speaks through the church, which we, for our 
parts, confess ; but we ask further, whether those things which 
God speaks and teaches through the church are believed by us to be 
true solely on account of the church s authority, and whether it be 
not proved in some other way than by the church s own testimony 
that God speaks through the church ? By not telling us this, nor 
shewing how we know the church s judgment to be divine, he is 
guilty of manifest tergiversation, and fails to prove that which was 
the real question. For there is a wide difference between these 
two propositions ; God speaks through the church, and, We can 
not be otherwise certain of the scriptures and doctrine of God, 
but because the church attests them. 

Cochlseus indeed, of whom we have heard before, asserts that 
we cannot be certainly persuaded of the doctrine of scripture other 
wise than by the testimony of the church. For that dishonest writer 
enumerates many strange and incredible things in scripture, which 
he falsely pretends to be believed solely on account of the church s 
authority. Stapleton thinks in the same way, and speaks in the same 
way in this chapter : for he says, that the church does not make the 
contents of scripture true, yet does cause them to be believed by 
us as true. From which statement it is apparent that Calvin s 
objection is just, that in this way our whole faith depends upon 
the authority and human judgment of the church. But the scrip 
ture teaches us far otherwise and better. For thus we read, 
1 John, v. 10, " He who believeth not God, makes him a liar." 


He therefore who no otherwise believes God promising, but on ac 
count of the authority of some one else, certainly believes that 
other person more than God, and so makes God a liar. Besides, 
in this way, the church would be mistress of our faith, which is 
repugnant to that saying of Paul, 2 Cor. i. 24, " We have not do 
minion over," ov Kvpievo/uLev, " your faith ;" rfi Triarei eo-r^/care, 
" by faith ye stand." We stand, indeed, by faith, and that is the 
gift of the Holy Ghost, not of the church. We see, therefore, that 
it is not on the church s, but on the Holy Spirit s authority, that 
we persevere stable and constant in the faith, and fall not from 
divine grace. Besides, by this way of reasoning, it would follow 
that the ultimate issue and resolution (as they call it) of our faith 
would be into the voice and judgment of the church. This indeed 
some of the schoolmen, and those of great name too, have long 
since not been ashamed to affirm in express words ; but the later 
papists deny it, and Stapleton himself elsewhere disputes against 
it. But how can it be denied, if, as Stapleton will have it, we be 
lieve whatever we believe on the church s authority ? For if the 
judgment of the church causes the books of scripture to be canoni 
cal to us, then it certainly is the cause why those things which are 
contained in scripture are judged and believed true by us. And 
if this be so, is not our faith ultimately resolved into the voice of 
the church ? On account of the church we believe the scriptures 
and every thing contained in scripture ; for this is the meaning of 
Stapleton s assertion that the church causes those things which are 
found in scripture to be believed and held for true. Thus he does 
not perceive that he overturns his own opinion. Besides, he says 
that the judgment of the church is divine and infallible, and that 
the minds of the faithful may safely acquiesce in it. Why, there 
fore, should he not also concede, that the ultimate resolution of faith 
is placed in the judgment of the church ? 

From what hath been said it appears that all the promises of 
scripture are, in Stapleton s opinion, confirmed by no other au 
thority than that of the church; whence what Calvin says follows, 
that our consciences are despoiled of all security, and that nothing 
certain is left to us in religion. But why, asks Stapleton, when the 
testimony of the church is divine ? I answer : We confess, indeed, 
that the testimony of the church is divine in a certain sense ; not 
absolutely, but in some respects, that is, so far as it agrees with 
scripture, with the Holy Spirit, with the will of God. But then 
we say that that judgment is not to be received on account of the 


church, but on account of the will and authority of God with which 
it agrees. Alphonsus de Castro, Lib. i. c. 8 l , answers this argument 
of Calvin s in another way ; namely, that we owe it to the church 
indeed that we know what is divine scripture, but that afterwards, 
when we have been assured that scripture is divine, then we have 
from itself the obligation to believe it thoroughly in all respects. 
lie thought that which Stapleton hath ventured to defend grossly 
absurd. But there is this also in de Castro s answer, that, if the 
church make scripture authentic to us, then it also makes authentic 
to us, and true, all the things which are written and taught in 
scripture. Whereupon Stapleton did not choose to make use of 
this answer ; and preferred openly enunciating its consequence, that 
all things are believed by us on account of the church. What 
Stapleton subjoins out of Ephes. iv. 11, that Christ left to his 
church apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, doctors, that the 
people might be kept in the faith, and not carried about with every 
wind of doctrine, is of absolutely no weight. For although the 
people be retained by pastors and doctors in faith and obedience, it 
does not therefore follow that it is solely by their authority that 
the permanence of the people in their duty is effected. For the 
Christian people acknowledges and reverences a greater authority 
than that of the pastors, namely, that of God himself; which unless 
it were of more avail than that of the. pastors, the people could 
never be so retained. So, in precisely the same way, the people 
are kept in peace by the magistrates and ministers of the king ; 
but yet there is a greater authority than that of these magistrates, 
on account of which they are kept in peace, namely, that of the 
prince himself, whose authority and dominion extends far and wide 
through all the parts of his realm. 

Our thirteenth argument, which was Calvin s second, is this : In 
this way the truth of divine scripture would be exposed to the 
mockeries of impious men, and would in great measure be brought 
into even general suspicion, as if it had no other authority than 
such as depended precariously upon the good will of men, if it be 
said to be received only on account of the judgment of the church. 
Therefore, &c. And this is most true ; for who fails to perceive 
that, in this way, scripture is exposed to infinite reproaches and 
calumnies from men? Here Stapleton, overcome by the force of 
truth, is compelled even against his will to speak the truth. He 
says that it is not by the good will of men, but the testimony of 
l [Opp. Paris. 1571. p. 46.] 


God speaking through men, that both the scriptures and all the 
rest of our faith have their authority. This we willingly embrace. 
For we confess that the scripture hath its authority from the testi 
mony of God ; and we confess also what he adds, that God speaks 
through men : for God uses no other ministry than that of men, 
when he now addresses us in this world. But of what sort is this 
testimony of God speaking through men ? Let them tell us, and 
they will find that the testimony of God speaking through the 
church is one thing, and the church itself another. And if they 
shall say that we believe the church on account of the testimony of 
God, what else do they say but what we say also ? But neverthe 
less we say further, that we ought to believe those things which 
God speaks through the church, on account of the authority of 
God himself who speaks, not on account of the authority of the 
church through which he speaks. Stapleton, under the pressure of 
this argument, betakes himself for refuge to his old distinction. 
The scripture, says he, does not receive from the church any pre 
carious authority, since it depends not upon the church in itself, but 
only in respect of us ; when yet he had said only a little before, 
that we believe on the testimony of God speaking through the church. 
Doubtless that authority cannot be called precarious, which rests 
upon divine testimony. The man absolutely knows not whither to 
turn himself, and yet he calls Calvin a caviller. Then he tells us 
how scripture hath authority with us by means of the church ; 
because God speaking through the church commends it to us, and 
makes it conspicuous. If he distinguishes God speaking through 
the church from the church itself, we concede all this, and then 
conclude that scripture rests upon the authority of God. If he do 
not distinguish, then he makes God speaking through the church, 
and the church through which he speaks, the same thing ; that is, he 
confounds the principal efficient cause with the instrument. I de 
mand of him, therefore, whether he distinguishes that testimony of 
God speaking through the church from the actual judgment and 
testimony of the church, and makes the former something different 
from the latter ; or confounds the one with the . other, and deter 
mines them to be absolutely the same ? If he distinguish, then he 
concedes what we wish, namely, that the authority of scripture in 
respect of us rests upon the testimony of God. But if he confound 
them, then he absurdly commingles things which ought to be kept 
separate. For he who speaks is one, and that through whom he 
speaks is another. If therefore God speaks through the church, 


this is not properly the witness of the church, but rather of God. 
Now if it be the testimony of God himself, it follows that God, not 
the church, gives authority to the scripture even in respect of us. 
And now we have said enough upon this argument. 

Our fourteenth argument, which is Calvin s third, runs thus : 
The testimony of the Holy Spirit is more excellent than all au 
thority : therefore the same Spirit can best persuade us that it is 
God who spoke in the scriptures. We say that the scriptures are 
proved to us by the witness of the Holy Spirit: therefore, we 
apply the most certain testimony, even in the judgment of our 
adversaries themselves, who dare not deny this. For God is alone 
a fit witness of himself. Stapleton concedes that the testimony of 
the Holy Spirit is the best and most certain ; but he concedes this 
only in words, and in reality breaks down the whole force of this 
testimony. For he subjoins that this testimony of the Spirit should 
be public and manifest, not private and secret, lest seducing spirits 
should introduce themselves under the title of the Spirit of God ; 
and this public testimony of the Spirit he would have to be the 
judgment of the church. Here meanwhile he is compelled to con 
fess, that there is need of the witness of the Spirit, and that this 
witness of the Holy Spirit is the most certain testimony. Thus 
then he affirms a testimony of the Spirit, but of such a kind as 
does not really exist, namely, a public and manifest one ; so as that 
the external judgment of the church shall be holden to be the public 
judgment of the Spirit, and whatever the church determines and 
deems, this shall be believed to proceed from the testimony of the 
Spirit. Christ instituted no such tribunal, as will be shewn here 
after in its place. For I ask, whether it be public and manifest to 
all, or only to a few ? Certainly, it is not manifest to all publicly ; 
for then all would acknowledge and submit to it. If they say, it 
is public to a few, I would fain know of them how it can be called 
public and manifest at all ? But I demand besides, who these few 
are to whom it is public ? They will say, to the pastors, or, under 
the pressure of argument, to the pope alone. But we seek for such 
a public judgment as is open to all the faithful ; and Stapleton should 
either shew us such, or confess that he is playing with us in a 
serious matter. For our dispute is not about the question how the 
pope or the pastors only, but how all the faithful universally, may 
understand the scriptures to have divine authority. Wherefore 
they are at length reduced to confess that they rest upon a dif 
ferent testimony from that of the church, and that a private one, 


since it lies hidden in a single person. But it is absurd to dream of 
any public tribunal of the Holy Spirit ; yea, the scriptures them 
selves plainly teach the contrary, that the testimony of the Holy 
Spirit is only private, internal, and secret. In 2 Cor. i. 21, Paul 
says that God hath sealed us, and given to us the earnest of the 
Spirit : but where ? in our hearts. In Horn. viii. 16, the Spirit of 
God is said to testify not openly, not externally, but internally, 
that is, in our spirit, that we are the sons of God. In 1 John v. 
10, he who believes upon the Son of God is said to have the testi 
mony, not in any external tribunal, but ei/ eayrw, in himself. In 
Matth. xvi. 17, Christ says to Peter, " Flesh and blood have not 
revealed this unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven." In 
which words he unquestionably implies that the persuasion was 
wrought, and the revelation made inwardly to Peter, by the Holy 
Spirit, which he had just before confessed concerning Christ. In 
1 John ii. 20, John addresses all the faithful in this manner : "Ye 
have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things." 
f,ue7s ^pia/Jia e^ere, KCLI oica.T TravTa. And at verse twenty-seven 
of the same chapter, " The anointing which ye have received re- 
maineth in you," ev vfuv juevei. He does not mean any external 
and manifest unction, but an internal one, entering in our minds 
and establishing all truth to us internally. So Isaiah lix. 21 : 
"My Spirit, which is within you," &c. And it is certainly re 
pugnant to the nature of the Spirit, that this testimony should be 
external and public. For such as the Spirit is himself, such should 
also be his testimony. But the Spirit himself is hidden and secret, 
and blows where he listeth, as Christ taught Nicodemus, John iii. 
8 : therefore his testimony also is occult ; yet occult in such a sense 
as to admit of its being clear and certain to those persons them 
selves who are anointed with this unction. Indeed this is so mani 
fest that the very papists themselves are compelled to acknowledge 
it. For so Hosius in his Confessio Petrocoviensis, cap. 16 : " Now 
we willingly concede that the gospels are to be received as the 
word of God, who teaches and reveals truth to us internally, and 
that they are not to be believed but on account of the voice of God 
speaking to us within 1 ." But certainly the testimony of the church 
cannot be called the testimony of the Spirit in a strict sense, but 
only by way of similitude, or in so far as it agrees and harmonises 

[* Nos vero libenter concedimus, accipienda esse evangelia ut yerbum 
Dei intus docentis et revelantis, neque credendum illis esse nisi propter Dei 
yocern intus loquentis. p. 21. Opp. Lugd. 1564.] 


with the testimony of the Spirit. For we do not deny that the public 
judgment of the church may agree with the secret testimony of the 
Holy Spirit ; but we say that then it is received for the sake of 
the testimony of the Spirit, not for the sake of the church. 

But as to -what Stapleton subjoins, that the public judgment is 
necessary on account of false and seductive spirits ; we answer, that 
this man would fain seem wiser than Christ. For Christ, when he 
had a full prospect and foresight of this evil, nevertheless left no 
remedy against these deceiving spirits except the scripture, in whose 
judgment whosoever refuses to acquiesce will certainly contemn 
equally the authority of the church. He slanderously pretends also 
that we make the judgment of the church merely human ; which is 
not true. For although we say that the church is composed of 
men, yet when its testimony agrees with the judgment and testi 
mony of the Holy Spirit, and is in harmony with the word of God, 
we then confess that it is divine. Nevertheless we do indeed in the 
meanwhile say, that it is then believed not on account of the church 
itself and its authority, but on account of that truth which it follows 
and pronounces, and on account of the authority of God, whom, in 
that judgment, the church merely serves as a ministering agent. 
But all are not churches of God, which assume and arrogate to 
themselves this privilege, but those only which determine what 
Christ determined, and teach the same as he taught. But our dis 
pute here is not concerning the true church, what and of what sort 
it is : this is the sole question before us, whence we are assured 
that the judgment of the church is true and divine ? This is the 
very point at issue. Let them then produce some argument 
whereby this may be cleared up for us ; otherwise they do nothing. 
But assuredly they can produce none ; nor hath Stapleton himself 
produced any, but only taken things for granted. He only says 
that we are impudent, if we do not believe, and unworthy of being 
disputed with ; or else proves the conclusion by itself after this 
fashion : It is true that the judgment of the church is divine, 
because the church itself says so ; it is governed by the Holy 
Ghost, because it says that it is so governed. We may, however, 
much more justly reply, that they are impudent if they do not 
believe the scripture, and that the scripture is divine because it 
affirms itself to be so. Nor is there any reason why we should say 
more upon this argument. 

Now follows our fifteenth argument, the fourth of Calvin, which 
is this: The church is said (Ephes. ii. 20) to be built upon the 


foundation of the prophets and apostles, that is, upon the prophetic 
and apostolic doctrine : therefore the prophetic and apostolic doc 
trine, that is, the whole scripture, and the approbation of the same, 
preceded the church, without which the church could never have 
existed. Stapleton answers, that Calvin misleads his reader by a 
double equivocation concealed in these two words, foundation and 
church. For he says, in the first place, that the foundation in 
this place does not signify the doctrine written by the prophets and 
apostles, but their preaching : next, he says, that by the church in 
this place are not understood the masters, prelates, and superiors, but 
the faithful themselves as they constitute the body of the church. 

As to the first equivocation, I return a fourfold answer. First, 
what if we concede, that in this place the foundation of the prophets 
and apostles is meant of the apostolic and prophetic preaching ? This 
will avail nothing against us : for the preaching of the prophets and 
apostles was precisely the same as the scripture itself. This is mani 
fest from Acts xxvi. 22, where Paul speaks thus : " Having obtained 
help from God, I continue unto this day, witnessing these things to 
both small and great, saying none other things than those which 
the prophets and Moses did say should come ;" ovSev e/cros- ^eycov. 
Whatever, therefore, the apostles taught, they derived from the 
prophets and Moses, and beyond them they taught nothing. The 
same may also be confirmed from Acts xvii. 11, where the Beroeans 
are said to have examined the preaching of the apostles by the 
scripture; which they certainly could not have done if they had 
preached anything beside or without the scripture. Secondly, I 
say that the foundation of the prophets and apostles in this place 
actually does denote the scripture : which I prove from the cir 
cumstance that Paul here joins the prophets with the apostles. 
Now the prophets were not then preaching, but only their writings 
were extant. Stapleton foresaw this, and therefore determines 
that, in this place, it is not the prophets of the old Testament that 
are meant and designed, but those of the new, who lived and 
taught along with the apostles, such as those who are mentioned, 
Ephes. iv. 11, and 1 Cor. xii. 28. But under the name of pro 
phetic doctrine always in the scriptures the whole doctrine of the 
old Testament is wont to be understood. So 2 Pet. i. 16, where the 
apostle says: "We have a more sure word of prophecy;" e^ojuiei/ 
fiefiaioTepov TOV 7rpo<pr)TiKoi> \oyov. So Heb. i. 1, where the 
apostle says that God had spoken formerly in divers ways to the 
fathers by the prophets. So Rom. i. 2, where Paul says, that 


God had before promised the Gospel did TWV Trpcxprjrcov avrou e r 
ypa<pais dyiais. So Luke i. 70, where Zacharias, the father of 
John the Baptist, says that God had " raised up a horn of salvation 
for us in the house of his servant David, as he had spoken Sia 
0"To/xctTos TUJI> ayiwv TUDV air aiwvos 7rpo<pt]Tcou OIUTOV." There 
fore in this place also, under the name of prophets are understood 
the old, and not the new prophets. For if Paul had understood 
those prophets of the new Testament, why not equally mention the 
evangelists, pastors and doctors, who were also preaching the word, 
and united their labours with the apostles and prophets in this 
work? Chrysostom opposes Stapleton, and teaches us that none 
other are here understood but the ancient prophets : for he says 
that the apostles were posterior in time to those prophets whom 
Paul names here, and yet are set in the first place : Upwrov 
TiOrjcri TOVS d.TTo<jTo\ov<s ecr^aTof? arras rots ^oi/ots 1 . Thirdly, 
I sav, that the preaching of the apostles and prophets, as it was 
their action, continued only a short time. But the apostle speaks 
of a perpetual foundation which should consist and endure to the 
end of the world, and upon which the church of all times should 
always rest. This is the doctrine which the apostles first delivered 
by word of mouth, and afterwards in books that were to remain for 
ever. How then can the church be now founded upon that preach 
ing, which hath ceased and come to an end many ages ago? 
Fourthly, Ambrose says that by the foundation in this place is 
understood the old and ne.w Testaments, and that other prophets 
are here designated than those of whom we read Ephes. iv. 11, 
and 1 Cor. xii. 28. The same is the opinion of Thomas Aquinas ; 
the same of Dionysius the Carthusian, and of some other papists : 
so that we may perceive that Stapleton is here at variance with 
his own men. We have discussed the first ambiguity ; it remains 
that we come now to the second. 

The second equivocation which Stapleton remarks in Calvin s 
argument is in the word Church. Stapleton wishes to understand 
in this place by the church, not the pastors, but the people. But it 
is plain that the apostle is here laying the foundation of the whole 
church, and therefore of the pastors also ; unless perhaps they are no 
members of the church. Indeed it would be absurd that he should 
except the masters and prelates of the church more than the rest of 
the faithful, as if they had another foundation to rest upon besides 
the prophetic and apostolic doctrine; whereas absolutely all the 
[! In Ephes. Horn. vi. T. n. p. 39. B.j 


faithful are settled upon this foundation, of which Christ is the 
corner-stone. Since this is so, it is idle in Stapleton to say, that 
the church, as it denotes the body of the faithful, is founded upon 
the doctrine of the apostles and prophets, but not as it denotes the 
prelates and governors. Hence it is manifest that Calvin s reason 
ing stands firm ; namely, scripture is the foundation of the church ; 
therefore, scripture and its approbation is prior to the church. 

But Stapleton still defends himself with that worn-out distinction. 
He says that the scripture is posterior to the church in regard of its 
acceptation in respect of us : as if approbation and acceptation were 
not the same thing, or scripture were not then accepted when it 
was approved. The adversary, therefore, cannot elude Calvin s 
argument by this distinction. What he subjoins, namely, that the 
pastors are known before the scriptures, is utterly false, and a bare 
faced begging of the question. For we ought first to know how 
good pastors should feed their flocks, (a point of knowledge only 
attainable from scripture, which most clearly describes the pastoral 
office), before we can recognise the actual good pastors. So we 
know a governor, a general, a professor of any art, from the matters 
themselves which they handle, and which are the subject of their 
art, and in no other way : unless, indeed, he understand merely a 
confused sort of knowledge, such as that of which Aristotle speaks, 
Physic, i. cap. 1. But that is rather a sort of mere uncertain con 
jecture or guess, than any clear and certain knowledge. As to his 
remark that the church itself also, in the sense of the pastors and 
rulers, is sometimes compared to a foundation and a gate, as by 
Augustine in his exposition of Ps. Ixxxviii. we allow it and concede 
it readily : but the reason is because that by their constancy the 
weaker are sustained and strengthened ; by their preaching the 
gates of heaven are, in a manner, opened, so as that, without the 
ministry of the word, no access to salvation could lie open to any 
one. In the meanwhile, however, what we have before laid down 
is true, that the pastors are founded upon the word, and it cannot 
be determined otherwise than out of the word itself, who are true, 
good, and faithful. Therefore it must ever be held as most true, 
that the approbation of scripture precedes this discrimination of the 
pastors. For if we approve them for pastors, then before that, and 
much rather, must we approve the scriptures, which have made 
them pastors, and taught us not only what their office is, but also 
our own; and without which neither would they know how to feed the 
flock, nor could we esteem them as our pastors. In like manner, 


since the church depends upon the scriptures, the knowledge of the 
scriptures must needs precede the knowledge of the church. 

Our sixteenth argument is this : Scripture in the doctrine of 
religion hath the rank and place of a principle ; all its declarations 
are, as it were, axioms and most certain principles, which neither 
can, nor ought to be proved by other things, but all other things 
to be proved and confirmed by them. If this hold in human 
sciences, whereof men are the authors, much more does it hold 
in scripture, whose author is the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of truth. 
Whoever is the author of this argument, it is most true. It seems 
to be Musculus s. Stapleton answers by a distinction (for he is 
very copious in distinctions, which he generally abuses greatly,) in 
this manner : The principles of sciences, says he, are in themselves 
indemonstrable with respect to the nature of things; but in respect 
of us they may be demonstrated, on account of our great dulness, 
by a demonstration shewing simply that they exist. Such is the 
case of scripture. I answer : We confess that the scriptures may 
be demonstrated by an argument a posteriori; and that this argu 
ment is especially useful to us on account of the slenderness of our 
intellect; and so that we are much aided in this matter by the 
voice and testimony of the church. But nevertheless we deny that 
the scripture needs this testimony of the church, or that it is on no 
other grounds authentic to us. We receive indeed the axioms of 
the sciences, when they are first delivered, and believe them to be 
true, induced by the words and authority of the professors of those 
sciences : but when we understand the reason of them, then we 
believe rather on account of the plain and necessary truth of the 
axioms themselves, which we perceive ; for they have an infallible 
reason in themselves which commends them to our belief. The 
existence of the principles of the sciences may be explained to us ; 
but are they understood to be true no otherwise than because the 
professors have so delivered them ? Yea, the axioms themselves 
mutually demonstrate each other. In like manner, the scriptures 
may be illustrated and commended by the voice of the church, 
although they are in themselves most firm and certain principles, 
which are both proved by the authority of God himself, and fortify 
each other by their mutual testimony. Stapleton subjoins that the 
scripture is in such a sense a principle in religion as yet to allow 
that the church s voice is prior to it. Which is utterly false, since 
all the voice of the church arises from the scripture. Besides, that 
which is taught is always prior to that which teaches. Now the 


scripture is taught, and the church teaches : therefore the scripture 
is prior to the church. 

But Stapleton proceeds, and proves that the church is prior 
to the scripture, and even of greater authority ; because the scrip 
ture (says he) is one of those things which are believed ; but 
the church is the rule of all those things which are believed. 
Where we may observe a two-fold self-contradiction. The first 
is, that whereas, in the chapter immediately preceding, he had 
denied that the scripture was believed, and said that though we 
professed in the Creed a belief in the church, we did not in the scrip 
ture ; now, on the contrary, he says that the scripture is one of 
the things believed, and so appertains to the Creed. Thus does he 
contradict himself, nor attend at all to what he says. The second 
is, that he says that the scripture is one of the things to be believed, 
and, therefore, cannot be the rule of those things which are be 
lieved; while yet he determines the church to be that rule, although 
it be itself one of the things which are believed. For do we not 
plainly in the Creed profess that we believe in the catholic church ? 
If, therefore, scripture be not the rule of faith, because it is an 
article of faith, why does not the same argument hold also against 
the church ? But is the voice of the church indeed the rule of 
faith? Yea, rather, on the contrary, scripture is the rule of the 
church. Does scripture follow the voice of the church, or the con 
trary ? These men themselves say that the scripture is not squared 
to the voice of the church, but the testimony of the church to 
scripture ; so as that, since it is canonical scripture, therefore the 
church can do no otherwise than declare it to be scripture. Thus 
the church is not the rule, but a thing directed by the rule. The 
scripture itself is the rule of faith, as we shall hereafter shew 
more clearly : for the voice of the church ought to be governed by 
scripture, and the church is the effect of faith, and therefore cannot 
be the rule of faith. For the church is the multitude of the faith 
ful ; and therefore ought to be governed by faith, to follow faith, 
to depend upon the rule of faith, and adjust all things by it. But 
the voice of the church is an act of the church, and posterior to the 
church. The voice of the church is the voice of men : but the rule 
of faith is the voice of God. Thus are they not ashamed of any 
absurdity or blasphemy : to such a pitch of desperation are they 
come. But we have spent words enough upon this argument. 

Now follows our seventeenth argument, which stands thus : The 
church is subject to the scripture ; therefore it ought not to judge 


of scripture. The argument is perfectly conclusive, if we under 
stand an authoritative judgment, as the lawyers express it, which is 
what the papists would have. The antecedent is proved by a two 
fold testimony of Augustine. The first is contained in his treatise 
against Faustus- the Manichee, Lib. XL c. 5, where Augustine says 
that " the scripture is settled upon a certain lofty throne to com 
mand the service of every faithful and pious understanding 1 ." The 
second is in his book de Vera Religione, c. 31, where the same 
Augustine says that "it is lawful for pure minds to know the eternal 
law of God, but not lawful to judge it." Here also Stapleton seeks 
to escape under the screen of one of his customary distinctions. 
He says that the church, as it denotes the body of the faithful, is 
subject to the scriptures ; but, as it denotes the pastors, governors, 
and prelates, is not subject, because they rather judge of the scrip 
ture not yet accepted, in order to its acceptation : and thus he 
seeks to elude both passages from Augustine. But Augustine un 
doubtedly speaks of the whole body of the church, when ho says 
that every faithful understanding should serve the scriptures ; in 
which words he embraces the bishops and prelates. And certainly 
in that chapter he speaks especially of those whose office it is to 
expound the scriptures, that is, of the pastors themselves. Are not 
these also obliged to be subject to the scriptures, and to submit 
their understandings to them ? See what things these popish pre 
lates arrogate to themselves ! Augustine therefore would not have 
even these exercise what is called an authoritative judgment upon 
scripture, but rather do it service. Next, as to his assertion that 
it is the privilege of the pastors to judge of scripture not yet 
accepted ; I demand whether scripture be yet accepted or no ? 
They cannot deny that scripture hath been long ago accepted. It 
follows, therefore, that this judgment of the church is at an end. 

Nor is the sense of Augustine different in the second passage, as 
may easily be perceived from observing his own words. He says 
that the church does not judge the scripture (which he calls the 
law, rule, and truth), but only according to the scripture. For he 
uses there a similitude taken from the civil laws, which agrees ex 
cellently well with our defence. "Just as it happens in the case of 
temporal laws (says Augustine), although men judge of them when 
they institute them, yet when they are instituted and confirmed, it 
will not be lawful even for the judge to judge concerning them, 

[} Excellentia canonicse auctoritatis veteris et novi Testament! . . . tan- 
quam in sede quadam sublimiter constituta est, cui serviat omnis fidelis et 
plus intellectus. Cont. Faust. Manich. xi. c. 5. T. x. p. 267.] 



but according to them 1 ;" the same is the case of the divine 
law. For such is the gist of his comparison. But who hath 
authority to establish divine laws ? Not men, but God alone. If 
therefore God hath made and promulgated these laws, then they 
are laws without the judgment and acceptation of the church. For 
asmuch then as the scriptures are made and promulgated by God, 
they ought not to be subjected to human judgment, nor can any 
one lawfully sit in judgment upon them. God hath established 
these laws. It is our part to receive, acknowledge, venerate, obey, 
submit ourselves to them, and judge of every thing according to 
them, not to exercise judgment upon them. And this all men with 
out exception are bound to do ; yea, the prelates themselves, and 
those who hold the highest authority in the church. 

But here he declares that he will immediately close the mouths 
of us heretics. Let us attend and see how he performs his promise. 
Calvin, Instit. Lib. i. c. 9, disputes against those who introduce en 
thusiasm, and shews that their enthusiastical spirits, of which they 
boast, are to be judged of by the scriptures. They say, that it is 
unjust to subject the Holy Spirit to scripture. Calvin answers, that 
no injury is done to the Holy Spirit, when he is examined by scrip 
ture, because in that way he is tried by no foreign rule, but only 
compared with himself. Now he is always equal to, and like him 
self; he is in every respect at perfect harmony and agreement with 
himself, and nowhere at variance with himself: this, therefore, is 
not injurious to him. These things are most truly spoken by 
Calvin. Hence Stapleton gathers this argument : As, says he, it 
is no insult to the Holy Spirit to be examined by the scriptures, so 
it is not an insult to the scripture to be examined by the voice and 
testimony of the church. But this reasoning of Stapleton will then 
only be conclusive, when he shall have shewn and proved, that the 
analogy and proportion of the church to the scripture is similar to 
that of the scripture to the Holy Spirit; which is what he will never 
be able to prove. For the whole scripture is divinely inspired, and 
ever in harmony with the Spirit. Therefore every spirit which 
agrees not with scripture is to be rejected : but all churches do not 
agree with scripture. Here then halts this so boasted argument 
of Stapleton s, wherewith he hoped to be able to close our mouths. 

[ x Sicut in istis temporalibus legibus, quanquam de his homines judiccnt 
cum eas instituunt, tamen cum fuerint institutes atque firmatfe, non licebit 

judici de ipsis judicare, sed secundum ipsas JEternam igitur legem 

mundis animis fas est cognoscere; judicare non fas est. August. De Ver. 
Relig. cap. xxxi. T. i. p. 977.] 


And thus far Stapleton, who is bold in words, but in argument 
loose and weak, as we have seen. Let us now dismiss him. 

Now follows our eighteenth argument, which is this : The pa 
pists say that we believe the scripture upon the word and authority 
of the church. I ask, therefore, what sort of faith is this, whe 
ther acquired or infused ? They call that acquired which is gained 
by our own exertions, and human topics of persuasion ; that infused, 
which the Holy Spirit hath disseminated and inspired into our 
hearts. If they say that it is acquired (as they must needs say, 
because the authority of the church is in the place of an external 
means of persuasion), I say, that is not sufficient of itself to pro 
duce in us a certain conviction ; but in order that we should believe 
any thing firmly, there is need of the internal infusion of the Spirit. 
This appears readily from the following passages. Deut. xxix. 4 : 
"Ye have seen all these miracles," says Moses to the Israelites; 
"but God hath not given you a mind to understand, ejes to see, 
and ears to hear, unto this day." Whence we perceive that we 
believe nothing as we ought without infused faith, not even things 
the most manifest, such as were the miracles which Moses mentions. 
Matth. xvi. 17: "Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona, because flesh 
and blood hath not revealed these things unto thee, but my Father 
which is in heaven," saith Christ to Peter. Peter, indeed, had 
heard John the Baptist; he had heard Christ himself, and had 
seen many of his miracles : yet Peter nevertheless could not be 
lieve before a divine revelation was added to all this ; and therefore 
Christ attributes the whole of Peter s faith to revelation. To the 
same effect is what we read of Lydia, Acts xvi. 14, whose heart 
God is said to have opened. 1 Cor. xii. 3 : "No one," says Paul, 
" can call Jesus Lord, but by the Holy Ghost." And, verse 9 of 
the same chapter, faith is reckoned amongst the gifts (^apiaimara) 
of the Holy Spirit ; and he speaks there of justifying faith, not of 
the faith of miracles. From these premises it is manifest that the 
faith upon which we rest is infused, and not acquired. But if they 
say that we believe the scriptures by an infused faith, they say 
precisely the same as we. For what else is that infused faith but 
the testimony of the Holy Spirit, on account of which we believe 
even the scriptures and the doctrine of scripture, and which seals 
the whole saving truth of scripture in our hearts? 

Our nineteenth argument is taken from the authority of the 
fathers, who testify that the scripture and its truth are no other 
wise ascertained for us, and can no otherwise be confirmed in our 
souls, but by the witness of the Holy Spirit. There is a notable 



passage of Augustine s, Confession. Lib. xi. c. 3 : "I would hear 
and understand," says he, addressing God, " how thou madest 
heaven and earth. Moses wrote this : he wrote, and departed : he 
passed from hence to thee ; nor is he now before me. For, if he 
were, I would hold him, and ask him, and beseech him for thy 
sake, to unfold these things to me, and I would lend the ears of 
my body to the sounds which should issue from his lips. But if he 
were to speak in the Hebrew tongue, it would strike my senses in 
vain ; nor would any of his discourse reach my understanding : but if 
he spoke in Latin, I should know what he said. But how should I 
know whether he spoke the truth ? And even if I knew this, should 
I know it from him ? Surely within, inwardly in the home of my 
thoughts, truth, which is neither Hebrew, nor Greek, nor Latin, 
nor barbarian, without the organs of mouth or tongue, without the 
sound of syllables, would say, He speaks the truth ; and I, ren 
dered certain immediately, should say confidently to that man of 
thine, Thou speakest truth. Since then I cannot interrogate him, 
thee I entreat, O Truth, filled with whom he uttered words of 
truth ; thee, O my God, I entreat, have mercy on my sins, and do 
thou, who didst grant to him thy servant to speak these things, 
grant to me also to understand them 1 ." Thus Augustine. In which 
place he teaches us, that that public and external judgment of 
the church, which the papists have so often in their mouths, hath 
not strength sufficient to engender faith. For they will not, I 
suppose, attribute more to the church than to Moses and the pro 
phets. If therefore, although Moses and the prophets too were to 
rise from the dead and declare that what they wrote was true, yet 
their testimony would not suffice us for faith, but we should require 
in addition the internal testimony of the Holy Spirit, and a divine 

[! Audiam et intelligam quomodo fecisti ccelum et terrain. Scripsit hoc 
Moses, scripsit et abiit ; transivit hinc ad te. Neque etiam mine ante me 
est : nam si esset, tenorem eum, et rogarem eum, et per te obsecrarem, ut 
mini ista panderet, et prseberem aures corporis mei sonis erumpentibus ex 
ore ejus. At si Hebrsea voce loqueretur, frustra pulsaret sensum meum, nee 
inde mentem meam quicquam tangeret. Si autem Latine, scirem quid 
diceret: sed unde scirem an vera diceret? Quod si et hoc scirem, num 
ab illo scirem? Intus utique mihi, intus in domicilio cogitationis, nee 
Hebrcea nee Grseca nee Latina nee barbara veritas sine oris et linguae organis, 
sine strepitu syllabarum diceret, Verum dicit; et ego statimcertus confidenter 
illi homini tuo dicerem, Verum dicis. Cum ergo ilium interrogare non possum, 
te, quo plerms vera dixit, Veritas, rogo ; te, Deus meus, rogo, parce peccatis 
meis, et qui illi servo tuo dedisti heec dicere, da et mihi hsec intelligere. Aug. 
Confess, xi. iii. T. i. p. 232.] 


persuasion of the truth itself; then certainly neither shall we believe 
the church s testimony, unless the same testimony of the Holy 
Spirit be, in the same manner, added. 

The same Augustine says also, in his book Contra Epist. Fund. 
c. 14, that, " in order that we may obtain an understanding of what 
we believe, it is requisite that our minds should be inwardly confirmed 
and illuminated by the Deity himself 2 ." And in his book De Vera 
Relifjione^ c. 31, he writes thus, as we have just heard : " It is law 
ful for pure minds to understand the eternal law [of God], but to 
judge it is unlawful 3 ." Where then are those who arrogate to them 
selves this judicial power, which they would exercise upon the scrip 
tures, whose authority is supreme ? Basil, upon Ps. 115, writes of 
faith thus beautifully and truly : " Faith," says he, " is that which 
draws the soul to assent by a force transcending the methods of 
logic : faith is that produced, not by the necessary demonstrations 
of geometry, but by the energy of the Holy Spirit 4 ." Thus we 
believe not till the Holy Ghost not the church hath inspired us 
with faith. Hereto appertains also what Ambrose says, De Fide 
ad Gratian. Lib. i. c. 5 : " Do not," says he, " Arian, estimate 
divine things by our (sayings, or writings, or authorities, or 
words); but believe them divine, when you find that they are 
not human 5 ." Divine things, therefore, are proved by them 
selves, are believed on their own account. Salvian, the bishop, 
De Providentia, Lib. in., writes thus : " All human sayings need 
arguments and witnesses, but the word of God is its own witness ; 
because it must needs be, that whatever incorruptible truth speaks, 
should be the incorruptible testimony of truth 6 ." 

We have besides the testimonies of papists themselves. For the 
chief popish writers may be cited in this cause, Gabriel Biel, in 
Sentent. Lib. in. Dist. 25, in Dub. 3, speaks thus : " Catholic veri 
ties, without any approbation of the church, are by their own na 
ture immutable, and immutably true, and so are to be considered 

[ 2 Ut . . . quod credimus intelligere mereamur, non jam hoininibus, sed ipso 
Deo intrmsecus mentem nostram firmante atquc illuminante. T. x. p. 192.] 

[3 Vide supra, p. 354.] 

[ 4 TI virep ras \oycKas fJ,c66&ovs rrjv ^xty els o-vyKaradea-iv e\KOVcra, K.T.\. 
T. i. p. 313, B. Whitaker, in making this citation, writes incorrectly <rvy- 
KarajSaanv for o-vyKarddfo-iv.] 

[ 5 Noli, Arriane, ex nostris sestimare divina, sed divina crede ubi hu- 
mana non invenis. Opp. T. iv. p. 122. Par. 1603.] 

[ 6 Humana omnia dicta arguments et testibus egent, Dei autem sermo 
ipse sibi testis est : quia necesse est quicquid incorrupta veritas loquitur, in- 
corruptum sit testimonium veritatis. Salv. Opp. Par. 1684, p. 43.] 


immutably catholic 1 . * But this is a catholic verity about which we 
inquire : it is, therefore, immutable in its nature, and immutably to be 
considered catholic, and that, without the approbation of the church. 
Hosius in his Confessio Petrocoviensis, cap. 16, says that we believe 
the gospel on no other score, but on account of the voice of God 
speaking within and teaching us 2 . This he affirms more than once 
in that book, although afterwards he tries in some degree to 
correct and excuse himself. Melchior Canus, Loo. Commun. Lib. 
ii. c. 8, disputes upon this question at great length, and, though 
differing from us in words, agrees with us in substance. For he 
says, that, without infused faith we can believe nothing necessarily, 
nor be persuaded of any thing certainly. But that faith which 
springs from the church s judgment is acquired ; whereas infused 
faith proceeds from the Holy Spirit. Therefore, even by the con 
fession of the papists themselves, the scripture is to us what it is, 
that is, the scripture, on account of the authority of God ; and in 
order that we should certainly believe what we receive in scripture, 
we have need of the internal testimony of the Holy Spirit. Cani- 
sius, in his Catechism, in the chapter upon the precepts of the 
church, sect. 16, says that we "believe, adhere, and attribute the 
greatest authority to scripture on account of the testimony of the 
divine Spirit which speaks in it 3 ." Hence two things are collected : 
first, that the Holy Spirit speaks in scripture ; secondly, that the 
Holy Spirit, speaking in scripture, persuades us to believe scripture 
and assign to it the greatest authority. So Stapleton in the last 
chapter of his first book: "It is not derogatory to the sacred scrip 
ture that it receives witness from the church, although it have greater 
testimony from the Spirit of God, who is its author." If this be 
true, why hath Stapleton afterwards disputed so keenly against this 
testimony of the Spirit, which he had himself confessed to be greater 
than the testimony of the church ? And Bellarmine himself, in his 
MS. lectures upon Thomas Secunda Secundce, Qusest. 1, Art. l,Dub. 1, 
teaches that we believe, not on account of the church, but on ac 
count of the revelation of God ; and refutes the contrary opinions 
of certain others. Thus we conclude that our opinion is true not only 
in itself, but even in the judgment of our adversaries themselves. 
And so much upon the third question. 

[! Sicut veritates catholicse absque omni approbatione ecclesise ex natura 
rei sunt immutabiles, et immutabiliter verse, ita sunt immutabiliter catholicse 
reputandse. p. 253. Brixise, 1574.] 

[ 2 . . propter Dei vocem intus loquentis. p. 21. Opp. Lugd. 1564.] 
[ 3 Scripturse propter testimonium divini Spiritus in ilia loquentis credi- 
mus,&c. Opus Catech. p. 157. Colon. 1577.] 





IN commencing to speak of this question, we must return to 
that foundation which was laid at the beginning. In John v. 39, 
Christ says, " Search the scriptures," epevvare rets ypa<pds. The 
precept of Christ, therefore, is plain, declaring that the scriptures 
should be searched : whence the question arises, whether those 
sacred scriptures, which we are commanded to search, are so full 
of obscurity and difficulty as to be unintelligible to us ; or whether 
there be not rather a light and clearness and perspicuity in scrip 
ture, so as to make it no useless task for the people to be engaged 
and occupied in their perusal. Here, therefore, we have to dispute 
concerning the nature of scripture. But, before coming to the 
argument, we must see what is the opinion of our adversaries upon 
this matter, and what is our own. As to our own opinion, the 
papists certainly either do not understand it; or, if they do, treat 
us unfairly and slander us in an impudent manner. For we never 
said that every thing in scripture is easy, perspicuous, and plain ; 
that there is nothing obscure, nothing difficult to be understood ; 
but we confess openly that there are many obscure and difficult 
passages of scripture : and yet these men object to us this, and 
affirm that we maintain the scriptures to be perfectly easy. 

The council of Trent hath defined or expressly determined no 
thing upon this matter. We must, therefore, investigate the opinion 
of our adversaries by the help of other writings of papists, so as to 
be enabled to discover the true state of the controversy. Eckius, the 
most insolent of popish writers, in his Enchiridion, Loc. iv., writing 
of the scripture, objects to us this opinion, that the scripture is so 
easy, that even the ignorant people may and ought to read it. 


His words are these: "The Lutherans contend that the sacred scrip 
tures are clear ; and accordingly laymen and doting old women treat 
of them in a style of authority V Whence we understand that their 
mind and opinion is, that the people are to be kept from reading 
the scriptures, because they are so obscure as that they cannot be 
understood by laics, women, and the vulgar. We hold the con 
trary, that the scriptures are not so difficult but that they may 
be read with advantage, and ought to be read, by the people. 
Hosius also, in his third book of the authority of the church against 
Brentius, is copious in proving and establishing the exceeding great 
obscurity of the sacred writings. So the Censors of Cologne, against 
Monhemius, write to precisely the same effect : for they say in 
their preface, that the difficulty of scripture " may be argument 
enough that all are not to be indiscriminately admitted to the read 
ing of it." Hence they conclude that the unlearned are to be 
prohibited reading scripture, even the history of Christ s passion ; 
in which they say that there are so many doubtful points, that even 
the learned can hardly reconcile them. Thus they permit no part of 
scripture to the people, not even that most sweet and easy narra 
tive, altogether worthy of our perusal and meditation, which con 
tains the history of the death of Christ. Andradius, Orthodox. 
Explic. Lib. ir., disputes largely upon the obscurity of scripture. 
Lindanus, in his Panoplia, Lib. in. c. 6, affirms of all scripture that 
which Peter said only of certain subjects handled in Paul s Epistles : 
for he says that there are, throughout the whole body of scripture, 
many things " hard to be understood," and that such is the unani 
mous opinion of divines. Stapleton, Lib. x. c. 2, says that the 
church ought to interpret scripture on account of the difficulties 
which present themselves generally and in most places. The Rhe- 
mists, in their annotations upon 2 Pet. iii. 16, say that the whole 
scripture is difficult, but especially the Epistles of Paul ; whereas 
Peter, as shall appear hereafter, affirms neither : all that Peter 
observes is, that there are some things in Paul s Epistles " hard to 
be understood, which the unlearned wrest, as they do the other 
scriptures, to their own destruction." What they subjoin out of 
Augustine, that of all things which Paul taught, nothing is more 
difficult than what he writes concerning the righteousness of faith, 
can by no means be conceded. For if Paul ever said any thing 
plainly, he hath declared his mind upon this subject in a perspi- 

\} Lutheran! contendunt scripturas sacras esse claras ; ideo laici et delirse 
anus eas tractant imperiose.] 


cuous discourse. The same Rhemists, in their marginal annotation 
upon Luke vi. 1, attribute to us this opinion, " that all things are 
very easy." The Jesuit Bellarmine affirms that there are many 
obscurities in scripture ; which we also concede : but when he de 
termines the state of the question to be this, whether scripture be 
so plain of itself, as to suffice without any interpretation for decid 
ing and putting an end to all controversies of faith of its own self, 
he fights without an adversary : at least he hath no adversaries 
in us upon this point. Prateolus, in his JElenchus Hcereticorum, 
Lib. xvn. c. 20, says that it is the common article of all sectaries to 
affirm that the scriptures are clear of themselves, and need no inter 
pretation. Sixtus Senensis, in his Bibliotheca, Lib. vi. Annot. 151, 
objects to us this error, that we say that the whole scriptures are 
so clear and perspicuous of their own nature as to be capable of 
being understood by any one, however illiterate, unless some exter 
nal obstacle be interposed. Costerus the Jesuit, in his Enchiridion 
of Controversies lately published, confesses that many things in 
scripture are plain ; but adds that many things are not of such a 
nature as to be intelligible to every body without any trouble. 

But they do us injustice, and openly preach falsehood concerning 
us, when they affirm us to say that all things in scripture are so 
plain that they may be understood by any unlearned person, and 
need no exposition or interpretation. Hence we see, both what they 
think, namely, that the scriptures are so obscure that they ought 
not to be read by the unlearned ; and what they say, but falsely 
say, that we think, that all things are plain in the scriptures, and 
that they suffice without any interpretation to determine all contro 
versies. Let us now see what our opinion really is. 

Luther, in his assertion of the articles condemned by Leo X., 
in the preface, says that the scripture is its own most plain, easy, 
and certain interpreter, proving, judging, and illustrating all 
things. This is said by him most truly, if it be candidly under 
stood. The same author, in his book of the Slavery of the Will 
against the Diatribe of Erasmus, writes almost in the beginning, 
that in the scriptures there is nothing abstruse, nothing obscure, 
but that all things are plain. And because this may seem a para 
dox, he afterwards explains himself thus : he confesses that many 
places of scripture are obscure, that there are many words and 
sentences shrouded in difficulty, but he affirms nevertheless that no 
dogma is obscure ; as, for instance, that God is one and three, that 
Christ hath suffered, and will reign for ever, and so forth. All 


which is perfectly true : for although there is much obscurity in 
many words and passages, yet all the articles of faith are plain. 
Stapleton, Lib. x. cap. 3, interprets these words of Luther, as if he 
said, that all the difficulty of scripture arose from ignorance of 
grammar and figures ; and he objects to us Origen and Jerome, 
who certainly were exquisitely skilled in grammar and rhetoric, 
and yet confess themselves that they were ignorant of many things, 
and may have erred in many places. We answer, that what he 
blames in Luther is most true, if it be rightly understood : for 
he who can always arrive at the grammatical sense of scripture, 
will, beyond all doubt, best explain and interpret the scriptures. 
But hitherto no one hath been able to do this every where and in 
all places. Certainly the grammatical meaning of scripture, as it 
is ever the best and truest, so is it sometimes the hardest to be 
found; so that it is no wonder that Origen and Jerome himself, 
although both of them most skilful grammarians, may have erred 
in the interpretation of scripture. Luther adds besides, that the 
things themselves are manifest in scripture ; and that therefore we 
need not be put to much trouble, if the words be sometimes in 
many places less manifest. His words are these : " The things 
themselves are in light ; we need not care, therefore, though some 
signs of the things be in darkness 1 ." But some persons complain 
greatly of the obscurity of the things also, so that this distinction 
of Luther s between the things and the signs of the things may 
seem to be idle. Luther answers that th